BY DASHIELL ALLEN | It’s the closest New York City gets to direct Democracy.
All residents of Downtown Councilmembers Erik Bottcher and Christopher Marte’s districts can vote this week on which neighborhood projects they believe deserve a total of $1 million in funding — a small fraction of the roughly $67 billion city budget.
“Participatory Budgeting is such a crucial step to making our city more transparent and accountable,” Marte said. “Participatory budgeting allows us to have a more locally driven democracy, letting neighbors actually vote on how their tax dollars get spent, not just which elected gets to spend them. It’s a great opportunity to show people how they can make a difference, and help us achieve some really great projects across our neighborhoods. For years, other Council districts across the city have been able to enjoy the benefits of this program, and I’m excited to finally bring it to District 1.”
Marte’s district includes the Financial District, the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Soho, Tribeca and parts of Greenwich Village, while Bottcher’s district includes the rest of the Village, stretching along the West Side from Hudson Square through Hell’s Kithcen.
Although Carlina Rivera, who represents Council District 2, stretching from the Lower East Side to Kips Bay, has done participatory budgeting before, she is not doing it this current cycle.
Marte’s constituents can select their top three favorite projects out of a total of six, ranging from planting more trees around the community, to updating the library at P.S. 42.
Neighbors in Bottcher’s district can pick up to five projects out of a total of 10, including building a new pedestrian plaza in the Garment District or renovating the Reggie Fitzgerald Triangle at Eighth Avenue and W. Fourth Street.
You can vote online in Bottcher’s district here and Marte’s district here through this Sun., April 10, or in person at a variety of locations. The winning projects will be announced the following week, before the final city budget is announced by July 1.
Here are the full project descriptions:
District One, ballot items:
Funding a brand-new art room at P.S. 126 with new cabinets, sinks and closets
Planting new street trees and trees in parks and public spaces across the entire district
Purchasing new computers and technology and renovating common spaces for Lower Manhattan Community Middle School
Hooking up water access to Siempre Verde Community Garden
Bringing P.S. 42’s library up to date with a digital catalog system and new furniture
In-person Voting Locations:
Wed., April 6
8-10am: P.S. 20; 12-2pm: Southbridge Towers; 5-7pm: Hester and Forsyth Streets
Thurs., April 7
8-10am: Spring Street subway station; 12-2pm: Columbus Park; 5-7pm: Stanton and Allen Streets
Fri., April 8
8-10am: Madison and Rutgers Streets; 12-2pm: Morton Williams supermarket at Bleecker Street and LaGuardia Place; 5-7pm: Canal and Essex Streets
Sat., April 9
9-11am: Tribeca Greenmarket; 12-2pm: Chatham Square; 5-7pm: C-Town supermarket by the Smith Houses
Sun., April 10
9-11am: CVS by Hillman Houses; 12-2pm: Morton Williams supermarket at Bleecker Street and LaGuardia Place; 5-7pm: Grand and Clinton Streets
District Three, ballot items:
Broadway Boulevard Plaza
Location: Shared Street from 38th-39th; Plaza from 39th-40th
Would fund the construction of a new public plaza and shared street in the heart of the Garment District (similar to the plaza pictured above by the Flatiron Building).
Dog Run Surface Replacement at DeWitt Clinton Park
Location: 11th Ave. and West 54th Street
Would fund the removal and replacement of the existing dog-run surface in the park with a sport surface that is easier on the dogs’ paws.
Chelsea Recreation Center Basketball Court Resurfacing
Location: 420 West 25th Street
Would fund the resurfacing of the basketball court in the Chelsea Recreation Center to allow for better play and safer conditions.
More Street Trees
Would help fund the installation of new street trees across the district, including information and care tags for each tree.
Reggie Fitzgerald Triangle Renovation
Location: Eighth Avenue at West Fourth and Horatio Streets
This project would fund the replacement of a crumbling stone wall around a small garden in the West Village, and would replace it with a low loop fence and additionally install a namesake plaque for Reggie Fitzgerald.
P.S. 3 Charrette School Auditorium Upgrades
Location: 490 Hudson St.
Would fund both upgrades to the stage lighting and the audio/visual capabilities for the P.S. 3 auditorium for school plays, dance performances and other uses.
Location: 440 W. 53rd St.
Would fund the replacement of the current non-working air-conditioning system in the school’s auditorium, which is used by students and faculty for school meetings and by the larger community as a city, state and federal voting site.
Water Fountain Upgrades for City-As-School
Location: 16 Clarkson St.
Would fund the installation of seven water-bottle refilling stations at the high school, one per each floor of the school, and two more to be installed at the school’s discretion.
Technology Upgrades for Council District 3 Schools
Would fund upgrades to technology to all schools in Council District 3. The technology includes computers, smart boards and Chromebooks to help facilitate learning.
Council District 3 Libraries
Would fund a technology refresh for all libraries in Council District 3, updating computers and other access.
In-person voting locations:
THE LGBT CENTER, 208 West 13th Street, Saturday, April 9, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
FULTON HOUSES SENIOR CENTER, 119 Ninth Avenue, Saturday, April 9, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
PENN SOUTH, COMMUNITY ROOM 8A, 343 Eighth Avenue, Saturday, April 9, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
MANHATTAN PLAZA, 484 West 43rd Street, Saturday, April 9, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
ABINGDON SQUARE, Hudson Street and Eighth Avenue, Saturday, April 9, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
Outdoor voting sites in both District 1 and District 3 will be open dependent on the weather.