The winning projects for this year’s participatory budgeting cycle in Council District 39 include a down payment to create a “Brooklyn Skate Garden,” a restoration of the Prospect Park Carousel’s historic wurlitzer organ and a renovated bathroom for PS131 in Borough Park.
Those and other projects were selected by voters as part of the participatory budgeting process, in which members of the public propose and develop community projects before voting on which ones to fund.
The program, normally overseen by the City Council, was suspended last March as the coronavirus pandemic shut down the city. But four individual Council Members announced they’d run their own programs this year.
Among them was Council Member Brad Lander, whose District 39 includes neighborhoods stretching from Carroll Gardens down into Kensington. Lander said 5,446 people voted to fund three capital projects and four expense projects in the district, allocating a total of $1,437,000.
“These projects speak to the needs that the pandemic has clarified,” Lander said in an email announcing the winners. “Making sure all our neighbors have basic needs met. Prioritizing equity. Investing in our schools and parks. Taking care of long-treasured open spaces, and dreaming up new ones.”
Check out the full list of winning projects below:
- Bathroom renovations at PS131 – $650k (3287 votes). PS131 operates out of two pre-war buildings; and 12 of the 14 bathrooms in those buildings have never been renovated. The funding will allow for the renovation of up to four of the bathrooms at the school.
- Downpayment to create a “Brooklyn Skate Garden” – $300k (3057 votes). A new skate park, created in memory of late skateboarder Pablo Ramirez, would combine concrete skate elements with lush vegetation and accessible walkways in an effort to make skateboarding more open and accessible.
- Prospect Park Children’s Corner improvements – $425k (2874 votes). This funding will enable improvements to this space near the park’s Empire Boulevard/Flatbush Avenue entrance, like safe and accessible pathways, a new water fountain, and restoration of the carousel’s historic Wurlitzer organ.
- Neighborhood Farm Stand and Immigrant Women’s Craft Market – $20k (2668 votes). This funding supports a collaboration between People in Need (PIN), Seeds in the Middle, and SapnaNYC, who run a farm stand at the corner of Coney Island and Newkirk avenues in Kensington. This partnership makes produce available at discounted cash prices depending on customer need, through EBT/SNAP, or for free. It also funds skills workshops where women will learn how to craft products that would then be for sale at the stand.
- Roadway Use Study of Prospect Park Drive – $15k (2502 votes) The traffic study would seek to determine what changes should be made to the roadway now that the park is car-free. The city’s Department of Transportation and the Prospect Park Alliance will consider restricting the roadway, adding more crosswalks, removing signals, and adding accessibility features.
- 100K Eco-Friendly Diapers for Families in Need – $10k (2430 votes) The Brooklyn Diaper Project, which partners with community organizations to put diaper dispensers in communal public locations, would provide 100,000 diapers at three District 39 locations.
- More Trees for Kensington Streets – $7k (2325 votes) This funding will allow for the planting of 10 new community trees (which are planted in containers and live on public property) and 2 new street trees (in existing tree beds) in Kensington, where there are fewer trees than in other parts of the district.