Park Slope Pitches Composting and School Upgrades for Budget Wish List

In the Press

Park Slope Pitches Composting and School Upgrades for Budget Wish List

Leslie Albrecht

PARK SLOPE — Film buffs, nature lovers, and tree huggers could all have a reason to cheer about this year's round of City Councilman Brad Lander's participatory budgeting program.

Projects that could benefit all three groups were on display Thursday night at Lander's participatory budgeting expo, where locals made pitches about how they'd like to spend $1 million in taxpayer money on neighborhood improvements.

Everyone in Lander's district, including teens as young as 16, is eligible to vote on the proposed projects starting April 2, and the top vote winners will receive funding.

At Thursday's expo, volunteers unveiled the 24 proposed projects on poster board displays crammed into the basement auditorium of the Park Slope public library.

Several of the projects on the ballot are in schools. One would spend $100,000 on a filmmaking lab at the John Jay Educational Campus on Seventh Avenue. The building is home to four high schools, all of which would have access to the lab.

Another project would use $125,000 to replace the linoleum dance floor at P.S. 372, The Children's School, on Carroll Street and Fourth Avenue. Linoleum isn't safe for dancing because it's too slippery, said PTA co-president Lucia Burns, who added that the new dance floor would benefit the school's large special needs population.

"Dance is a great way for them to express themselves," Burns said.

Parents at P.S. 39 on Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street pitched a proposal to create an outdoor classroomwith permeable paving and bioswales — planted areas that absorb water. The special surfaces would help keep storm water out of the sewer system and the Gowanus Canal, said PTA co-president Susan Moesker. "If we could do something to improve the environment, we want to," Moesker said. "We want to be responsible citizens of our community."

Several other projects have an environmental component, including a plan to spend $65,000 on a truck and shredder for a community composting program.

The list of proposals also includes $40,000 for a large-scale projector that would be used for free film screenings at the Prospect Park band shell. The project is one of several proposed for Prospect Park.

"If we buy  it, for decades to come we'll be able to do this free programming," said Jack Walsh of BRIC, the group that organizes the Celebrate Brooklyn series of free performances in the park.


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