This year’s participatory budgeting results are in.
After the year-long process of compiling public projects by public vote, Council districts, 8, 11, 15, 16, and 17 each allotted the $1 million minimum for their constituency to recommend a use for.
Most districts favored using the funds towards school and education upgrades, along with other unique projects.
District 15 dedicated a majority of its funding towards improving school technology and renovations.
This comes just after Councilman Ritchie Torres dedicated $2.5 million for a rooftop garden and soundstage for Theatre Arts Production Company School on Webster Avenue.
Torres expected that the majority of the funds would be directed to the schools in his 15th district, saying that ‘Bronx schools should be brought into the 21st century with technology,’ noting the minimum voting age in participatory budgeting is 14.
“Something like this is like learning a language, it should be done at the youth level and grown into adulthood,” said Torres.
The councilman boasted that since 2015, the amount of people voting on the budget in his district doubled from 2,000 to 4,000.
He praised the newly legislated participatory budgeting procedure, a year-long process of community involvement, as a ‘grassroots’ form of democracy that rewards civic engagement.
District 17 also targeted its participatory funds for similar educational purposes while also suggesting the upgrading of community faculties.
“Participating in this community-driven process each year is incredibly important to me because residents are able to directly decide what projects should be invested in,” said Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr. “I commend each of the participating groups who made their voices heard and rallied residents to go vote,” the councilman added.
District 16 wanted a majority of its funding put towards school and libarary upgrades and the use of security cameras at various locations, using only about $910,000 of the allotted million.
The Bronx portion of District 8 put their money towards school gym and basketball court renovations.
Some of the major projects that were recommended are:
Two electronic Real Time Bus Countdown Clocks at four bus stops, $120,000; Mobile Laptop Carts, $35,000 per school, $315,000 total; renovation of M.S. 118 school auditorium; curtains-$150,000/lighting-$250,000/AV-$15,000, $415,000 total; New York Public Library upgrades throughout $200,000; M.S. 45 Murrell auditorium reparation $450,000; and Smartboards for schools, $315,000.
M.S. 302X Girls Prep Academy auditorium renovation; full renovation of the auditorium, $600,000; Hunts Point Recreation Center Upgrades; updated with exercise machines, equipment and increase the space for physical activity, $100,000; Bronx Charter School for the Arts Technology; and 55 Chromebooks for students, 20 laptops for teachers, 12 Smart Boards, 2 TVs, sound system and video camera, $150,000.
Science Lab for P.S./I.S. 218, $600,000; New York Public Library upgrades, $200,000; and security camera installations, $70,438.
District 8 (Bronx):
South Bronx Prep gym renovation, $1,184; and basketball court renovations at Patterson Houses, $1,083.
District 11 did not report its participatory budget winning projects in time for deadline.