Menchaca announces results of participatory budgeting projects

They came in record numbers.

The results for the 38th Council District’s third annual Participatory Budgeting (PB) Vote Week were announced by Councilmember Carlos Menchaca on Tuesday, April 26.

From Saturday, March 26 through Sunday, April 3, community members from Sunset Park and Red Hook had the opportunity to vote at several sites in the neighborhoods on how to spend a portion of public funds allocated to the district.

Menchaca implemented PB for the district at the start of his term in 2014.

The councilmember addressed the record turnout and the passion of voters in the Sunset Park and Red Hook area.

“Thank you for your support and involvement in Participatory Budgeting in District 38,” the Councilmember said in a statement. “We are proud to announce that our district collected over 6,300 votes, claiming the highest citywide participation rates for the third consecutive year.”

Sunset parents were pleased with both the voting process and this year’s results.

“It sure was a great experience, especially to see parents from P.S. 169 so active in getting what was needed for our kids to be done,” said P.S. 169 PTA Mimi Ferrer. “It’s also a great way inform the community that there are many needs and not all of them can be done at the same time, but to prioritize by voting in it is a great way to start.”

This year, Sunset Park schools were big winners, as well as neighborhood upgrades.

Coming in first place is “Renovations for Sunset Park,” which received 3,494 votes. The project, costing approximately $500,000, includes repaving, installing 20 new benches, replacing existing dilapidated chain-link fences, and adding picnic tables.

For second place, 3,168 residents voted in favor of $450,000 towards the library media center at Sunset Park High School, 153 35th Street.

Coming in at third is the installation of electronic “locator” signs throughout the district. This project — the most expensive, coming in at $600,000 — will install electronic arrival time bus signs along area bus routes.

Rounding out the winning projects are the renovation of bathrooms at P.S. 169 (4305 Seventh Avenue), costing $380,000, and the building of multi-purpose auditoriums that are also handicap-accessible community spaces at the I.S. 136 Charles O Dewey School (4004 Fourth Avenue).

“I want to thank everyone who participated in District 38’s PB Cycle 5,” added Menchaca. “Whether you submitted an idea during a neighborhood assembly, attended a budget delegate committee meeting, volunteered at a polling site, joined us at a PB Expo, or came out to vote for your favorite projects, thank you.”

With excitement about the winning projects high, residents hope it won’t take too long for them to come to fruition.

“I just hope that it doesn’t take years to see the change happen because parents are still asking about our other project that won last year for our double doors and yet we haven’t heard anything from that,” Ferrer added. “I also hope this doesn’t discourage people from playing a part. A follow up discussion about how the game works [would] be great with Menchanca and our school parents because we all want to know the next steps.”

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