Participatory budgeting vote is on now

Over the years of participatory budgeting, which started in the city in 2011 and in District 1 in 2019, I don’t think I have ever known to vote in the final round — and I didn’t know this time either till I saw a mention on Councilwoman Gale Brewer’s newsletter. So I am not sure how the public information campaign on this works… Either way, you can vote online here starting now through April 14. You can vote f0r up to three projects. See below for more info on the process.

Here’s the list for our district, coming from Councilman Chris Marte’s budget (not sure why some school projects are under ‘youth’ and some under schools…):

Schools and Education
ESA – Converting their Yoga Room to a Music Room
Cost: $300,000
Location: 350 Grand St, New York, NY, 10002
This project aims to transform Essex Streets Academy’s underutilized yoga room into a music room.

LMC – Digital Arts Classroom and Coding Club
Cost: $250,000
Location: 26 Broadway, New York, New York 10004
Lower Manhattan Community Middle School needs new desktops for its Digital Arts Classroom and Coding Club.

P94M @ P.S. 397 – Technology/STEM Cart Upgrade
Cost: $120,000
Location: 12 Spruce St, New York, NY 10038
To provide teachers and students with updated technology and STEM carts for the school’s science and literacy program.

Streets and Sidewalks
ABC Playground – Sidewalk Replacement
Cost: $500,000
Location: Essex St., Norfolk St. and Houston St.
This project would allocate the necessary funding required to replace the sidewalk and help revitalize the beloved ABC Playground.

Parks and Recreation
Plant New Trees Across District 1
Cost: $250,000
Location: District 1
This project will plant new trees and install protective tree guards in District 1.

LES Preparatory High School – Upgrade Home Economic Kitchen
Cost: $1,000,000
Location: 145 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002
This project would enhance the school’s home economic kitchen by installing new appliances, new countertops, and cabinets.

M131 – Gymnasium Upgrade
Cost: $750,000
Location: 100 Hester St, New York, NY 10002
This project aims to enhance the outdated and worn-out gymnasium by installing new flooring, sidewall protection, and bleachers.

The process starts in October, when residents can submit ideas for projects in their neighborhoods. In other districts, a group of volunteer budget delegates develop the ideas into more formal proposals and talk to city agencies about what is viable and doable, and in the process whittling down the suggestions. But Marte’s staff instead sets up tables in high foot traffic areas in the fall so that they can get ideas submitted from a broad range of people and staff develops the ideas themselves. See more info here.

Marte’s office sent over 30 to 40 projects to city agencies for cost estimation, said Caitlin Kelmar, his chief of staff. The items were selected based on their cost estimate fitting the amount they allocated to participatory budgeting this year, which was $1 million, and the feasibility of the proposal according to the agency.

“While some items didn’t make it to the ballot, that doesn’t mean the idea won’t be funded,” she said. “We use these submissions not just for the PB process, but to help inform our allocations overall, and help guide our citywide budget advocacy.”