Feel Like A Million Bucks & Vote In Participatory Budget
If you live in Woodhaven, you can probably help decide how a million dollars will be spent-but only if you act now.
Participatory budgeting has come to Woodhaven. It is a process that lets residents vote on how they want public funds to be spent.
Council Member Eric Ulrich, who represents about 62 percent of Woodhaven’s population, has opted to let his constituents in the neighborhood (along with those in Richmond Hill and the northern portion of Ozone Park) vote on how to spend $1 million. The funds must be dedicated to capital projects- brick-and-mortar items, not services.
Anyone who lives in Ulrich’s district and is 16 years or older can vote in participatory budgeting. But here’s an important point: the voting started Monday, and it ends Saturday. So if you’re reading this right now and have not voted yet, time is running out. Do it today.
To vote in Woodhaven, visit the office of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA), which is located at 84-20 Jamaica Ave. We’ll be open today (Thursday) from 4 to 8 p.m., and then Friday and Saturday, Apr. 4-5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please bring proof of residency.
Are you unsure whether you are eligible? There are two ways to find out. First, you can call Ulrich’s office at 1-718-738-1083 and ask. Second, you can go to this website: https://council.nyc.gov/html/members /members.shtml (without a period at the end). Then enter your address and borough.
If you are a resident of Woodhaven, Ozone Park, or Richmond Hill and it says Eric Ulrich is your City Council representative, you can vote.
If you live in Woodhaven but not in Ulrich’s district, that means you are represented by Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. You will not officially be able to vote in participatory budgeting, but there is still a good reason for you to come by our office during voting hours: you can fill out a ballot and we will communicate your preferences to Crowley’s staff.
Members of the WRBA are volunteering a lot of their time to ensure that the office will be open for a substantial period so you can vote. We feel it is important for you to have a voice in how this money is spent, and we also believe it would be good for Woodhaven to show that it cares about how city resources are allocated.
Here are the projects on which you can vote. You can pick five, and the most popular projects up to $1 million will be funded:
– $300,000 to mill and pave two miles of Woodhaven Boulevard;
– $50,000 for new signage for three hiking trails in Forest Park;
– $450,000 to fix flooding issues and repave the parking lot of the 102nd Precinct;
– $80,000 to install real-time bus countdown clocks at four bus stops;
– Technology upgrades at P.S. 273 ($100,000), smart boards at P.S. 60 ($91,000), audio-visual upgrades to P.S. 64’s auditorium ($100,000), and replacing the school yard fencing at J.H.S. 210 ($85,000);
– $100,000 for new fencing and signage at the Forest Park Dog Park;
– $300,000 for complete renovation and replacement of Giovanelli Playground, which is located at Forest Park and Freedom Drive;
– $100,000 for interior upgrades at the Richmond Hill Library; and
– $150,000 to repave pathways in Forest Park adjacent to the Sgt. Schaefer Memorial (near the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Park Lane South).
If you live outside Woodhaven but are represented by Council Member Ulrich, you can call his office at the number above to find out about whether, when, and where you can cast a ballot.
It’s not every day you can decide how $1 million will be spent. Don’t miss this chance. Vote.
* * *
Editor’s note: Blenkinsopp is member of Community Board 9 and director of communications for the WRBA. For additional information on the WRBA, visit www.woodhavennyc.org.