Residents of western Queens set to vote on how $1 million will be spent

Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, Queens

The fifth cycle of participatory budgeting begins to wind down in western Queens with a Project Expo at the Sunnyside Community Services on Saturday.

Residents are in the process of deciding how $1 million of the city’s budget will be spent on capital projects throughout the 26th Council District which includes Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and parts of Astoria and Maspeth.

After months of discussion and engagement at locations throughout the district, community members, in partnership with city agencies, developed, refined, and decided on 13 projects from hundreds of ideas. Now voting takes place for the winning projects beginning Saturday, March 30 through Sunday, April 7.

“Members of our community have been hard at work for months, narrowing down hundreds of ideas to make the final ballot,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “I am incredibly proud of these final 13 projects.”

Many of the projects focus on area public schools including a $200,000 installation of a hydroponics science lab at PS 150 in Sunnyside, to a $450,000 upgrade to the stage and lighting at the Academy of American Studies & Newcomers High School in Long Island City. The final projects list also includes tech upgrades to the district’s public libraries and various improvements at NYCHA developments.

The most expensive project on the list is a $650,000 turf space for the Torsney/Lou Lodati playground on Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside. Community members over the age of 11 can vote for up to 5 projects on the ballot to determine where the money will be allocated. Ballots will be available in English, Spanish, and Bangla.

“From renovating our local schools and improving accessibility at the Borden Avenue Veterans Residence to beautifying our public housing and installing new bus countdown clocks, all of these projects are fantastic, worthy causes that would undeniably benefit our neighborhoods. I encourage all residents of the 26th District to make their voices heard by voting in-person at one of our 10 polling locations or voting online. Let’s aim for record turnout and further establish our participatory budgeting program as one of the most successful in all of NYC!”

Last year, 7,100 people voted in person and online and Van Bramer allocated $2,579,000 for the winning projects.For more information including voting locations, call Van Bramer’s district office at 718-383-9566.

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