April 23, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
Residents voted to revitalize the Astoria branch of the Queens Library, upgrade local schools and add more bus countdown clocks when they went to the polls last month to determine how $1 million of city capital should be spent in the district via a process called Participatory Budgeting.
Participatory Budgeting allows constituents to vote on how capital dollars should be spent in their district. More than 2,500 residents of the 22nd Council District–which encompasses Astoria, East Elmhurst, and parts of Long Island City and Woodside — voted this year.
There were five projects that will be funded out of the 13 proposals that would put up for a vote between March 20 and April 6. The 13 proposals were determined by residents after a series of community brainstorming sessions in the fall.
District residents ages 11 and up were permitted to vote and select up to five projects they wanted to see funded.
The most popular proposal, pulling in 1,430 votes, was for the installation of water bottle refill stations at all elementary schools in the 22nd District–at a cost of $285,000. The water fountains in these schools will be replaced with the new stations.
The second most popular project, with 1,191 votes, was for the installation of bus count down clocks within the district. The project will cost $180,000.
A total of 1,139 people voted to allocate $250,000 toward the revitalization of the Queens Library’s Astoria branch, located at 14-01 Astoria Blvd. The funds will go toward ongoing work as well as on furniture, equipment and fixtures.
Residents also voted for $150,000 worth of electrical upgrades at P.S. 70, located at 30-45 42nd St. Upgrades are needed to 11 classrooms in order for the window air conditioners to operate. This project received 1,021 votes.
The fifth and final project to be funded will see $250,000 spent on updated high speed WiFi at the Young Women’s Leadership School, located at 23-15 Newtown Ave. in Astoria. This project generated 946 votes.
“Participatory Budgeting is truly government for the people, by the people,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides in a statement.“ What you see are the result of a dedicated community that wants to improve the lives of all those who live in western Queens.”
All winning projects will be funded under the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, which will take effect on July 1, 2019.