March 13, 2018 By Tara Law
Voters will decide whether to spend a million dollars on tech upgrades, school safety measures, road resurfacing or other local projects on a ballot created by community volunteers.
Residents of the 22nd Council District— which encompasses Astoria, East Elmhurst, and part of Long Island City and Woodside— who are 14 years old or older are eligible to vote for up to five projects between April 7 and 15. These proposals are part of the Participatory Budgeting program, which allows residents to decide the fate of part of the city’s budget.
Nearly 400 residents attended discussion sessions in their neighborhoods this fall to pitch ideas for participatory budgeting. The group was divided into smaller committees focused on particular issues. The committees whittled the list of 600 ideas down to a ballot of 12 proposals.
The ballot includes a $250,000 road resurfacing proposal, which would surface up to one mile of a one-way street.
Voters could also choose to provide $35,000 for a toolshed at Two Coves Community Garden, which is located at 8th Street between Astoria Boulevard and 30th Avenue.
One $150,000 proposal would provide new lighting to the Astoria Houses Community Center’s entryways, hallways and stairwells.
A combined $300,000 proposal would add more funds to the current repair at the Astoria Library at 14-01 Astoria Boulevard and fund new carpet, furniture and paint at the Steinway Library at 21-45 31st St.
A pair of proposals would improve security at two local schools.
A $450,000 proposal would provide a new security system at the Young Women’s Leadership School at 23-15 Newtown Ave. The project would include a camera security system, staircase cameras and a digital video board that monitors access points.
A $250,000 proposal would refurbish and provide paint for the gate around M.S. 126 at 31-51 21st St. The refurbishment would improve the fence’s safety and the school’s appearance.
Multiple items on the ballot would provide various technological upgrades to specific neighborhood schools.
An allocation of $150,000 would build a tech lab at I.S. 10 Horace Greeley School, where the Variety Boys and Girls Club’s biggest program is based. The school is located at 45-11 31st Ave.
Another proposal would build a STEM Lab at I.S. 141 at 37-11 21st Ave. A $300,000 allocation would provide equipment for students to study chemistry, biology and math, including robotics equipment, circuitry, engineering, 3D printing, programming and design gear.
Technological updates costing $350,000 at Long Island City High School at 14-30 Broadway would update the school’s bandwith and replace Smartboards. A separate $250,000 allocation would provide a hydroponics lab at the school, complete with stations for learning about composting and weather.
Voters could also decide to replace the audio and video system in the auditorium of P.S. 122 at 21-21 Ditmars Boulevard with a $125,000 allocation.
Finally, voters could provide P.S. 17/Q300 at 28-37 29th St. with a new research center. The $250,000 allocation would build research workstations, a Smartboard, new shelves and outlets.