Bronxites vote for a greenhouse, laptops, security cameras to benefit Mott Haven in City Council District 8’s participatory budget
Voters in two counties choose each other’s projects, from solar greenhouse to kid’s laptops
From: NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, BY KERRY WILLS
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2013
Ray with Friends of Brook Park Summer Green Team visiting The Science Barge greenhouse in Yonkers by Hudson Groundwork.
Security cameras and a greenhouse in public housing and laptops for public schools were among projects Bronxites voted to fund in an innovative city budgeting process.
City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito and seven other council members let residents choose how to spend at least $1 million in discretionary funds, called participatory budgeting.
“People are expressing their voice and what priorities are for their communities,” Mark-Viverito said. “That’s definitely something that, to me, means a lot.”
Mark-Viverito represents District 8, which includes East Harlem, the upper West Side, and Mott Haven.
The process got constituents in the two boroughs interested in each other’s concerns, Mark-Viverito said.
Ray Figueroa Jr. of Friends of Brook Park said, “It was really gratifying to see the response…folks from the west side of Manhattan and El Barrio would say, ‘Hey, I like your project. I voted for it.’”
His group won $300,000 to build a solar greenhouse in the Millbrook Houses.
Last week Bronxites were among 1,770 District 8 constituents who chose up to five projects from among 21 possibilities.
First place went to a plan to use $500,000 for installation of security cameras at the Millbrook Houses and three Manhattan complexes.
Second place was $450,000 for new laptops for P.S. 369 Young Leaders School on E. 140th St. and eight Manhattan schools.
A mobile cooking classroom, proposed by Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/HIV Research and Treatment (SMART) won voter approval for $180,000 .