Jennifer Gutiérrez, the new City Council representative for District 34, which covers parts of Bushwick, Ridgewood and Williamsburg, is asking for the community’s help in deciding how to spend a $1 million budget. 

Residents can submit ideas for physical infrastructure projects that benefit the public, such as improvements to schools, parks, libraries and housing. Each project has to cost at least $50,000 and have a lifespan of at least five years. The funds will come from the Participatory Budget (PBNYC) program.

Council members can also use part of the funding to support things like community classes, planting community gardens and buying art supplies for public community projects.

“Participatory budgeting allows District 34 residents to help decide how $1 million will be spent on capital projects in our communities,” said Councilmember Gutiérrez. 

“Over the past few years, school STEM labs, new trees and playground upgrades have been among some of the projects that have been funded in our district through the process. I am thrilled to be continuing and expanding participatory budgeting in District 34. Breaking down barriers to participation in government is one of my top priorities, and the participatory budgeting process helps us do just that by empowering residents to help guide how we invest in our neighborhoods,” she added. 

The PBNYC gives residents the chance to have their voices heard and to have what matters to them approved for city funding. Currently, only three project ideas for District 34 have been submitted to the Budget’s website.

One suggestion is called the “Myrtle Broadway Station Beautification and Accessibility Installation Project.” The idea calls for the installation of an elevator or sheltered escalator, along with bathrooms and water fountains in and around the station. It also calls for the installation of lighting and trees underneath the tracks and for the city to commission local artists to paint murals on the underside of the tracks.

“Many elders use this station, and it is a bastion of inaccessibility,” reads the project’s description. 

“It gets very hot in the summer, and people, especially elders, need access to restrooms and water. In the process of making the station more suitable to its users, let’s give local artists an opportunity to honor our elders with art.” 

Another resident suggests a dog run at Justice Gilbert Ramirez Park. The resident wrote that while Bushwick has a large community of dog owners, there is no immediate access to a dog run for the people who live near the park. 

“The closest two are at Maria Hernandez Park and Cooper Park, and neither are within walking distance,” reads the project’s description. 

After residents submit their ideas, volunteers, called “delegates,” narrow down the project proposals and select which ones reflect the community’s needs. The selected proposals then go on a ballot and will be voted on by the residents of Bushwick.

Submissions for the Budget are open until April 22.


Featured image: Jennifer Gutiérrez’s Instagram.

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