April 21, By Hannah Wulkan
Astoria will see six projects funded through the participatory budgeting process after a record number of people voted this year, announced Councilman Constantinides last night.
This year 3,617 people cast ballots during the week-long participatory budgeting process to decide how to spend $1 million, choosing to fund a variety of projects including neighborhood beautification and library upgrades, among others.
“I am proud that we’ve had such enthusiasm for Participatory Budgeting once again this year,” Constantinides said. “Seeing our vote total more than double from last year shows that neighborhood residents care about our public and community spaces. We are happy to provide this rewarding opportunity that brings the city budget process directly to our community members and helps keep our neighborhood civically engaged.”
The most popular project this year was the planting of new trees throughout the district with 1,471 votes, which will cost $36,000.
Other projects that will be funded through the process include bus countdown clocks at ten locations throughout the district, which will cost $250,000 and got 1,206 votes, and updating the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math lab at the Young Women’s Leadership School at 23-15 Newtown Avenue with new laptops and 3D printers. That project received 1,036 votes and will cost $60,000.
The other three projects funded through Participatory Budgeting will update various libraries throughout the district.
With 1,140 votes, the Queens Library at Astoria will receive $250,000 to install an accessible entrance that will add sliding doors, fix the driveway, and if necessary, remove steps to benefit seniors and those with disabilities.
Libraries throughout the district will also receive technology upgrades, as many of the computers are out of date. That proposal received 1,044 votes and will cost $125,000.
Finally, after receiving 1,037 votes, the Queens Library at Steinway will receive $300,000 to install solar panels that will lower the electricity costs by up to 60 percent and are good for the environment.
In addition to the top projects, Constantinides committed to funding new parking lot lighting for the NYCHA Astoria Houses through his regular discretionary budget. The project received 897 votes, which is more than double the number of votes for a similar project at the Astoria Houses basketball courts last year.
The projects will all be funded through the city budget, which will be passed in June, and then will enter planning and community input phases before design and construction begin.