Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) announced the results of participatory budgeting in the Community Board 9 and 14 sections of the district on Tuesday.
Five projects won enough votes in CB 9 to reach $1 million and six in CB 14. Ulrich’s office says nearly 1,000 people in both sections of the district voted.
In CB 9, the top vote getter, receiving 137 votes, was for $376,000 for a series of school projects, including fencing around schoolyard at JHS 210 in Ozone Park, technology upgrades at PS 273 in Richmond Hill and PS 60 in Woodhaven and audio/video upgrades in the auditorium of PS 64 in Ozone Park.
The other four top totals — meaning projects that will go forward — were 112 votes for the installation of bus countdown clocks a three bus stops in the CB 9 area, at a cost of $80,000; 106 votes for paving two miles of Woodhaven Boulevard; 96 votes for a $150,000 project to repave Forest Park pathways near the Schaefer Memorial and 93 votes for renovations to the Richmond Hill Library, at a cost of $100,000.
Ulrich has held participatory budgeting, a process in which constituents get to vote on where to spend up to $1 million of a council member’s allocation, in CB 14 for several years. For the first time, he held it in the CB 9 area, which includes Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and the northern part of Ozone Park.
In the Rockaways, the top vote getter was $320,000 in school upgrades, including SAT prep area with computers at Beach Channel High School, protective padding and scoreboard for gym and technology upgrades at PS 317/MS 318, lighting equipment and a control board for the auditorium in Scholars Academy, tech upgrades at PS 47 and landscaping at PS 114. That was followed by ADA-compatible swing sets in district playgrounds, at a cost of $150,000; new swing sets for children with special needs at various playgrounds in Broad Channel & the Rockaways, also worth $150,000; $100,000 each resurfacing of basketball courts and reconfiguration of courts to be used for the roller hockey play area in Broad Channel Park and median resurfacing and beautification near the Rockaway approach to the Gil Hodges-Marine Parkway Bridge and $200,000 to add audio equipment and an electrical system at performance space gazebo that was funded by participatory budgeting last year and will be installed with new Rockaway Beach boardwalk.
Ulrich hailed the vote as successful and promised to conduct participatory budgeting next year, perhaps expanding it to include the CB 10 portion of the district.
“I am deeply grateful to everyone that contributed to the participatory budget process this year,” he said in a statement. “My constituents have proven that they want a say in how their tax dollars are spent. I look forward to bringing the process back next year and working with my constituents to expand their voice in the budget process.”
The voting was held between March 30 and April 5.
Participatory budgeting, which is strongly supported by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan, Bronx), was also conducted by several other Council members for the first time this year, including Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton).
Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) recently announced that he would bring the process to his district next year.