Voting for Participatory Budgeting began Saturday, March 25 and runs though Sunday, April 2. If you haven’t voted yet—what are you waiting for?!
Wednesday night New York City Council Member Brad Lander hosted a PBNYC Project Expo for District 39 (Borough Park, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Kensington, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace).
Held at Camp Friendship at 339 8th Street in Park Slope, the event gave locals the opportunity to meet their neighbors who helped develop the 18 project proposals on the ballot, ask them questions, and, of course, vote.
Residents aged 14 and up are eligible to vote, either online or at locations throughout your district, between March 25 and April 2 (midnight to midnight).
With new online voting, it’s easier than ever to participate in the project that Lander has called “about as pure as democracy comes,” giving neighbors the chance to brainstorm, research, and develop projects to improve the community.
Lander was beaming at Wednesday’s event, “This year’s projects are great,” he declared. “What’s really inspiring is just how much folks care about our shared ‘stuff’…. they all put their hearts into their science fair displays…this is what’s fun about tonight,” he adds.
He explains, “Last year was the first year we did expense projects—these smaller, non-capital projects—and that has opened up a whole new realm of creativity, like creating a children’s book that kids with disabilities will see themselves in….”
This year, there are eight of these smaller, programming projects on the District 39 ballot. Voters can select their three favorites out of the eight.
Since launching six years ago, the Participatory Budgeting process has progressively gained traction.
“We have definitely had continued growth in the number of people that vote, and I’m pretty sure that will happen again this year,” Lander says, “especially thanks to the online voting, which I admit to feeling a little ambivalent about because I love when people come out in person—but of course it’s great to get more people involved.”
Check out the list below of the 18 project proposals on the 2017 District 39 ballot along with photos and brief interviews with some of the presenters at last night’s Project Expo.
Don’t forget to vote for your favorite projects!
District 39 Ballot
(vote for 5—the winning projects will receive up to $1.5 million in funding)
Arts, Culture, & Community
CHiPS Mobile Showers For Homeless Neighbors
Location: In front of CHiPS building, 200 4th Avenue, Park Slope
The CHiPS soup kitchen will purchase a two-stall shower trailer that provides homeless neighbors with access to hygiene.
“A lot of people come to our soup kitchen asking us where they can take a shower, and there’s not really that many places in the city for people to take a shower,”
Andi Hinnenkamp, Executive Assistant for CHiPs told BKLYNER.
“So we came up with the idea that we wanted showers, but our facility does not really allow for showers—we’re already at capacity. So we came up with a mobile idea.”
The mobile showers will be parked in front of CHiPS (200 4th Avenue) Monday through Friday from 9am to 11am and from 1pm to 4pm.
FabLab For MS 442 Project-Based STEM Learning
Location: MS 442, 500 19th Street, Windsor Terrace
Wiring upgrade to support innovative FabLab with 3D printer, laser cutter, and other equipment to teach and develop tech-savvy kids.
“We have just been through a two-year intense process to find a place for MS 442 to call home and we’re really lucky to be moving into the Bishop Ford School [in Windsor Terrace] next year,” Jody Drezner Alperin, an MS 442 parent, explained.
She continues, “But Bishop Ford is an old building and the space that we’re going to use for the FabLab isn’t able to support all the cool things that are in a FabLab yet,”
“This project would let us use all the equipment that we’re going to buy with support from the borough president—digital cutters, laser cutters, wood cutters, computers, design elements…,” she says.
The FabLab project students will work on are collaborative—”It’s about how do you problem-solve as a group? How do you work together? How do you work toward a common goal?—which are great things to be teaching kids,” Drezner Alperin says.
Air Conditioning For Sweltering PS 230 Cafeteria
Location: PS 230, One Albemarle Road, Kensington
School seeks to make 3,400-square-foot cafeteria comfortable to enable year-round use as an educational and community space.
Kensington’s PS 230 is a pre-K through fifth grade school with approximately 1,200 students.
“We’re a Title 1 school with over 20 languages spoken. We serve the universal free lunch program,” Jill Reinier, the Parent Coordinator at PS 230, told BKLYNER.
“We’re seeking funding for rewiring our cafeteria and installing air conditioning. Right now we are clocking 95 degrees in May and this is lasting through September, early October at times,” she explains.
The properly cooled cafeteria would also “allow the community to use it during the summer,” Reiner adds.
“At this point PS 230 shuts down during the summer. With more bearable temperatures inside, we would be able to have summer programming, summer camps, community meetings.”
Repavement Of PS 130 Schoolyard
Location: PS130 Lower School, 70 Ocean Parkway, Kensington
Schoolyard in dire need of new pavement and drainage. Floods and ice are big safety issues. The yard is the school’s only gym space.
More Street Trees Throughout The District
Location: Streets in Kensington, Gowanus, and Borough Park
Add 35 trees with guards to provide shade and beautify to the neighborhoods, especially where few or no trees exist.
Renovate Beloved, Busy, And Bare-Bones Dog Run
Location: Washington Park, near J.J. Byrne Playground, Park Slope
Upgrades include resurfacing, installation of benches, fencing, shade trees, and water for drinking and cleaning.
Approximately 100 to 150 dogs go to the Washington Park Dog Run (4th Street between 4th & 5th Avenues) each day with their humans.
“There’s dust that flies up from the gravel—the [dogs get] filthy, they’re breathing this in,” explains Mina Jones, the proud owner of an Airedale and daily dog run visitor.
“The water’s not properly installed…there’s a rock holding up the water fountain— there’s tape holding it together. The fence is coming apart. There are rats down in the alley. There’s no shade,” she says of the many repairs the dog run needs.
Jones and her fellow dog owners aren’t asking for anything unreasonable. “Nothing fancy—just a clean, healthy environment for the dogs and all the people,” she says.
Install Quarter-Mile Markers On Prospect Park Drive
Location: Along the East & West Drive in Prospect Park
Place distance markers every ¼ mile to serve runners and help visitors find landmarks in the park.
Bring Water To Thomas Cuite Park (“Froggy Park”)
Location: 11th Avenue & 19th Street, Windsor Terrace
Restore service to the playground’s only water-fountain, loved by locals and used by 500 preschoolers from PS K280.
Streets & Transit
Realtime Bus Arrival Info Near Subway Stops
Budget: $200,000 for 8 clocks
Location: Near F, G R stops
Install countdown clocks at bus stops near subway exits.
Safer Street Crossing For Middle School Students
Location: 5th Avenue and 4th Street, SE corner, Park Slope
Extend the curb between J.J. Byrne Playground and MS 51 for increased safety.
(vote for 3—the winning projects will receive up to $50,000 in funding)
Arts, Culture, & Community
Tech For Immigrant Families & After-School Programs
Location: Imani House, 76A 5th Avenue, Park Slope
Help hundreds of women, children, and immigrant families thrive! Upgrade the tech at Imani House, a non-profit organization providing youth and family development programs.
“This is our second year at Participatory Budgeting,” said Bisi Ideraabdullah, the Executive Director of Imani House, which has been operating 23 years in Park Slope and in Brownsville, offering after-school-programs, immigrant services, summer camp for over 325 kids, and an annual health/nutrition-focused walk-a-thon.
“We’re trying to get computer technology upgrades for our programs, for our administration, and for our immigrant services that we offer,” she explains.
“We need the technology because our computers are 11 years old. They’re Macs, but we can no longer upgrade them,” Ideraabdullah says. Imani House is hoping to receive funding to purchase ten new computers.
The organization will use the new machines for administrative purposes as well as to teach clients how to use the internet and how to speak English (using various language programs). The new equipment will also allow clients to print documents, “make their own newsletters, and get them more involved and hands-on,” she explains.
Sharing Theater Arts With Developmentally Disabled New Yorkers
Location: Dream Street Theatre Company, Park Slope
Produce a storybook and videos by and for developmentally disabled New Yorkers
Creative Engagement For Alzheimer’s Patients And Training for Caregivers
Location: Cobble Hill Health Center, 380 Henry Street, Cobble Hill
Local artists will enrich the lives of elders with Alzheimer’s by visiting them weekly and training caregivers.
Start-up Support For New Tenant Union
Location: Southwest Brooklyn Tenant Union, 201 Columbia Street, Columbia Waterfront
Provide tech equipment and bilingual outreach support to help tenants in southwest Brooklyn organize.
“I think everyone should vote for us because of the work the Southwest Tenant Union is trying to do to educate tenants about their rights,” Allen Miller told BKLYNER.
“This is an issue that’s going on throughout the city,” he continues, stating that the union helps to “fight gentrification and so-called affordable rent.”
“Affordable for whom?” he asks, adding “Affordable housing right now is must.”
Miller got involved with the Tenant Union “to support my fellow tenants.” He adds,
“A lot of them weren’t getting new leases, repairs weren’t done in a timely manner, [they had] rodents, things of that nature…I just came out to support them.”
Empower Immigrant Workers By Supporting Local Cooperative
Location: Hopewell Care Worker Cooperative Serving Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront & Gowanus
Start-up support for co-op owned & operated by immigrant women dedicated to providing quality jobs and care.
Set to launch in June, Hopewell Care Worker Cooperative is a “worker cooperative, meaning that all the members share ownership of the business. They make decisions together so there’ not a single boss… they’re all designing the governance, the finance, and everything together, explains Ben Fuller-Googins, Program Planning Director of Carroll Gardens Association.
Carroll Gardens Association assisted the twenty co-op members, “mostly all immigrant workers,” in organizing and developing their business.
The co-op will have contracts for employers which will protect the co-op workers from the abuse that often occurs in the domestic work industry—such as unpaid over-time, unpaid sick time, etc.
“There are about fifty coops in New York City. It’s a growing movement particularly around immigrant women,” Fuller-Googins says.
STEM Robotics Kits For PS 133 Science Club
Location: PS 133, 610 Baltic Street, Park Slope
Provide PS 133, a Title 1 elementary school, with iPads and kits to design, build and operate their own robots!
“For PS 133 we’d like to have a STEM robotics program. We’re using Dash & Dot which students can actually program and learn coding—21st century skills,” Natasha Harbin, a teacher at PS 133, explains.
Dash & Dot are small robots that teach kids coding skills using apps on a tablet or smartphone. Kids learn coding that make the robots talk, dance, move around, and more.
If the school receives the requested $9,000 in funding, it will purchase about ten Dash & Dot kits that the students can share and work with in groups.
Talking About Race And Equity In District 15 Schools
Location: MS 448/PS 146, 610 Henry Street, Carroll Gardens
Four (4) workshops led by Border Crossers will train educators and parents in strategies for addressing race and promoting equity.
#GOBK Bystander Intervention Trainings
Location: #GOBK meetings
Trainings by the Center for Anti-Violence Education that will teach community members how to respond to increased harassment and hate crimes.
There are more projects on the Participatory Budgeting map by district here.