And the winning projects are...

And the winning projects are...

What a weekend!

Yesterday, we wrapped up our second Participatory Budgeting vote - the culmination of a process that empowers New Yorkers to decide how tax dollars are spent on projects in their neighborhoods.

The last week of corruption stories have really tested our faith in elected officials. But I am proud that our community is showing how we can strengthen the connection between residents and government, by trusting each other and working together across race, class, and neighborhood to make important, difficult choices. In the end, 2,821 of you and your neighbors voted, showing that this community still wants to be part of a more democratic, participatory government.

The 2013 winning Participatory Budgeting projects are:

  1. PS 230: Help Kids Connect & Learn With Technology - $180,000
    Install 34 Smartboards w/supporting MacBooks in high-needs, diverse (25+ home languages) school serving 1,300 students.
  2. Renovate 8 Bathrooms, PS 58, The Carroll School - $110,000
    Provide healthier environment for generations to come by replacing fixtures & flushing mechanisms. Last renovation was in 1954.
  3. Carroll Gardens/Windsor Terrace Library Computers - $75,000
    29 new adult & preschool computers at these branches to support community needs for internet access & computer literacy.
  4. Church Avenue Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Improvements - $300,000
    Extend sidewalks and reduce crossing distances on Church Avenue at Coney Island Avenue and McDonald Avenue intersections.
  5. PS 179: Technology upgrade for underserved school - $115,000
    27 SmartBoards for high-needs school to aid learning for English language learners, special education and gifted students.
  6. 3rd Street Green Corridor: New Trees, Less Runoff - $170,000
    10 trees with enhanced pits will improve storm drainage, and add shade and beauty in Gowanus from Bond Street. to 3rd Avenue.

When I sat down to cast my ballot (yes, I vote too), it was not easy choosing five projects. There were so many great ideas to improve our shared public spaces. I look forward to working with community members to continue pushing for some of the other projects that didn’t win enough votes for funding, but are clearly needed.

A project to improve pedestrian safety on Hicks Street in Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens finished a close 7th in the vote count, but would put us beyond the $1 million for Participatory Budgeting. I do know it is a priority for the community and we will be working with DOT to address safety concerns on the street. Hopefully, that can include some of the improvements proposed through Participatory Budgeting.

And with the winning projects, our work is not done! We will be working with City agencies to ensure that community stakeholders stay involved as the projects are implemented.

But don’t expect to see completed projects right away. Some projects from last year are already complete, but others still require at least a couple years of planning, community input, and construction. You should expect the same from this year’s winning projects. You can track their progress - and see where last year’s winners stand - at

Participatory Budgeting is a big undertaking, and I want to thank all of the people involved in making it such a big success. Our District Committee, made up of two dozen volunteers from around the district, helped organize the whole process, from the first meetings to staffing the voting weekend. About 100 community members put in a lot of hours as Budget Delegates and Facilitators, taking all of the great ideas given at the beginning of the process and developing them into the proposals put on the final ballot. We’ve had great community partners Participatory Budgeting Project and Community Voices Heard, who brought Participatory Budgeting to New York City and have continued supporting us over the last two years, Center for Urban Pedagogy who designed our ballots and other materials, Groundswell Community Mural Project who painted the great banners you saw at voting sites, and Fifth Avenue Committee who hosted numerous outreach phone banks and committee meetings. My staff has done an amazing job of balancing this big, important project along with all of our other community and City Hall initiatives. Thanks to all of them, and to all of you who helped spread the word about Participatory Budgeting, gave an idea, and of course all of you who voted!

And don’t forget that we are part of a city-wide movement. Residents from seven other City Council districts also held Participatory Budgeting votes this weekend (up from four districts last year). We are building the bonds of better, more grassroots governing, across New York.

Thank you for being part of it.

Preliminary Vote Results

Project  Cost Votes
PS 230: Help Kids Connect & Learn With Technology $180,000 1195
Renovate 8 Bathrooms, PS 58, The Carroll School $110,000 1100
Carroll Gardens/Windsor Terrace Library Computers $75,000 963
Church Ave Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Improvements $300,000 784
PS 179: Technology upgrade for underserved school $115,000 729
3rd Street Green Corridor: New Trees, Less Runoff $170,000 667
Hicks Street Pedestrian Safety Improvements $350,000 662
Equipment for Community Compost Program $65,000 557
Bus Clocks at 10-20 Bus Stops Across District $75,000 552
Retain the Rain: PS 39 Stormwater Initiative $125,000 540
Hamilton/Van Brunt Community Plaza $205,000 521
John Jay High School Campus Media & Filmmaking Lab $100,000 495
Security Cameras to Enhance Community Safety $200,000 452
Safe Auditorium Upgrade for Performing Arts PS 131 $100,000 417
Ocean Parkway Pedestrian Safety Improvements $300,000 412
Carroll Park Internal Fence Replacement
$200,000 411
Sustainable Running Surface Pilot on Prospect Park Drive $250,000 410
Kensington Triangle Park Improvements $330,000 408
Projector for Celebrate Brooklyn & BRIC Art Center $40,000 393
Additional Benches for Prospect Park $40,000 382
Safe dance floor for only inclusion school PS 372 $125,000 356
Install New Fitness Equipment Workout Stations $60,000 252
More turnstiles at Union St R Train Stop $130,000 249
Groundswell Community Mural Project Media Upgrade $50,000 152

Totals updated at 2:20 PM on April 8th, 2013, to include absentee ballots.

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