Participatory Budgeting Winners Announced

BY JOE MARVILLI
Staff Writer

The results are in.

Residents from Council District 23 went to the polls at the end of March and beginning of April to vote for five out of 14 projects that they wanted to see funded. The five winners will split $1 million of discretionary funds from Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), providing the neighborhood with additional services.

This year’s voter turnout was higher than last year’s, with 1,888 residents submitting their ballots – an increase of about 70 percent. In 2013, 1,116 votes were turned in.

A new fitness walk and exercise loop for Cunningham Park is one of five projects to receive a majority vote from residents in Council District 23 during participatory budgeting. The project will use $200,000 out of the $1 million of discretionary funds provided by Councilman Mark Weprin. Photo by Joe Marvilli

A new fitness walk and exercise loop for Cunningham Park is one of five projects to receive a majority vote from residents in Council District 23 during participatory budgeting. The project will use $200,000 out of the $1 million of discretionary funds provided by Councilman Mark Weprin. Photo by Joe Marvilli

The biggest winners of this year’s participatory budgeting were the community’s schools. Residents voted for SMART boards for PS 33, IS 109, PS/IS 266, Benjamin N. Cardozo High School and the Queens High School of Teaching, a $450,000 project. Technology upgrades for PS 135 and PS 18 for $85,785 also made the cut.

Public safety was another major concern for those who voted, as two ideas from that category qualified. In the near future, the NYPD will install three sets of portable security cameras, with locations to be determined, for $100,000. Security upgrades for Fresh Meadows, Hollis and Windsor Park libraries, with a total price tag of $344,000, were approved as well.

Finally, voters supported the creation of a fitness walk and exercise loop at Cunningham Park. That plan will cost $200,000.

“The tremendous voter turnout this year clearly demonstrates the community’s growing interest in participatory budgeting,” Weprin said.

D23 is one of four Queens districts that either have or will shortly have a participatory budgeting program in place. The other three areas are D32 in Ozone Park and Rockaway, D31 in the Rockaways and D19 in Whitestone, College Point and Bayside.

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@queenstribune.com, or @Joey788.