And the winning projects are …
Wow! This weekend, more than 2,200 of you came out and took part in what the New York Times called “revolutionary civics in action” – NYC’s first experiment with a new form of hyper-local democracy, participatory budgeting.
I was deeply heartened by the energy that so many of you have put in since we launched the effort last fall, attending brainstorming meetings, joining delegate committees, and voting on the final slate of projects.
And now, I am proud to announce the winning projects from the vote:
- Renovation of two dysfunctional bathrooms at PS 124 ($150,000, 958 votes)
- Innovative community composting system near Gowanus Canal to turn 1 ton/day of food waste into soil ($165,000, 919 votes)
- Planting 100 new trees on blocks throughout the district with few or no trees ($100,000, 767 votes)
- New technology for PS 130 and PS 154 ($140,000, 758 votes)
- Repairing Prospect Park pedestrian paths to prevent flooding, and adding trash cans in the park ($205,000, 648 votes)
- Repairs and safety improvements at the dangerous Prospect Expressway/Church Avenue pedestrian crossing ($200,000, 606 votes)
- New books and equipment for the Kensington public library to enhance the branch’s use for meetings, storytelling, rehearsals, and small performances promoting Kensington's cultural diversity ($80,000, 582 votes)
Vote totals for all projects can be viewed here. Each of the projects on the ballot was amazing, and I wish we had the resources to fund all of them. I am committed to push forward on several other projects on the ballot that did not receive enough votes to qualify for a share of the $1 million, but around which community residents have coalesced:
- Getting “bus countdown clocks” at bus shelters.
- Working with Kensington’s Bangladeshi community to create an “International Mother Language” monument as part of the renovation of Dome Playground.
- Address flooding and other issues at the Ft. Hamilton F/G subway station (we’ve already made some good progress here).
- Getting DOT to repave 50th Street in Borough Park.
- Facilitating more community access and WiFi at the Carroll Gardens library.
If the project you really wanted didn’t win, I hope you’ll join us next year to try again, or work with our office to find an alternative solution. Personally, I am thrilled to know that the projects we are funding are truly what the community has prioritized.
I want to extend my deeply heartfelt thanks to the extraordinary team of people who gave their time to make this possible: the District Committee that shaped the process, 100 volunteer budget delegates who researched projects, delegate committee facilitators, volunteers who helped with outreach and GOTV efforts, our partners at the Participatory Budgeting Project and Community Voices Heard, and the three other NYC Councilmembers who joined me in this experiment (Melissa Mark-Viverito, Eric Ulrich, and Jumaane Williams). And especially to my staff, who worked so hard on this effort: Alex Moore, Rachel Goodman, Michael Freedman-Schnapp, Catherine Zinnel, Gabi Friedlander, and Sigourney LaBarre.
To keep track of the winning projects, you can stay tuned to BradLander.com, but don’t expect construction to break ground this week. Some projects can be tackled this year, while others will require more time and review before they are finalized and constructed.
To get involved in next year’s process, you can start by attending the neighborhood assemblies we will hold next fall to get your ideas for spending next year’s participatory budgeting funds. If you’re interested in volunteering, let us know at lander [at] council [dot] nyc [dot] gov.
At time when our national faith in government is low, this process has helped restore confidence in democratic government as a vehicle for collective action to solve problems. You showed that when we give people the opportunity to make real decisions, they will take that power seriously, work together, and make good choices. I look forward to doing it again next year – and working with you to expand participation in other realms of government decision making.
Thank you for your participation.
What does your neighborhood need? An improved park? Safer streets? New school technology? In participatory budgeting, you give your ideas and City Councilmember Brad Lander has set aside $1 million to fund them. And your votes will decide which projects get funded.