Participatory Budgeting New York City (PBNYC) is a democratic process where community members can decide on how to spend part of a public budget of $1,000,000 throughout this council district. During a time when constituents are losing faith in the transparency of government, PBNYC allows a seat at the table to make decisions that will make significant changes to the neighborhood. It gives real power to people who have never before been involved in the political process. And it results in better budget decisions – because who better knows the needs of our community than the people who live there?

For the past five months a group of community volunteers, known as Budget Delegates, reviewed a collection of ideas submitted to our office and create a district ballot of proposals that will impact our district. The proposals receiving the most votes, up to $1 million, will then be funded in next year’s city fiscal budget. Our Budget Delegates worked in five subcommittees (Parks & Recreation, Education, Public Housing, Transportation, and Cultural Arts) assessed those ideas by categorizing each ideas community need, impact, and equity.

Our Budget Delegates were put to the task of developing preliminary proposals in their respectful subcommittees and engaging with city agencies to help craft a final product of 11 strong PBNYC proposals that will be presented for a public vote during Vote Week (Saturday, March 30 – Friday, April 7). The proposals on this year’s ballot are:

Parks & Recreation Proposals

1. Sugar Hill Park Renewal-$300,000

New seating area at garden entrance; ADA access ramp; regrading of entrance; reconstruct 5 feet of north retaining wall. For the next 15 months, Jackie Robinson Park’s public seating along Edgecombe Avenue will be considerably reduced while the “Open Borders” project is underway. While the project will enhance Jackie Robinson Park, the seniors who enjoy sitting outside daily will face seating limitations and will be driven to go farther away from home to enjoy the outdoors. The renovations and repairs proposed for Sugar Hill Park will support our goal of expanding the farming area and providing better and stable access for seniors interested in visiting and/or participating in farming, as well as offer the opportunity to do events and workshops surrounding food advocacy.

Location: Sugar Hill Park, 333-341 Edgecombe Ave. Bet. 149th & 150th St.

2. Marcus Garvey Park Wrought Iron Fencing around Playground & Fitness Area-$180,000

Existing fencing around the Basketball courts and surrounding playgrounds are in very bad condition. Fencing around the children’s play areas and adult fitness area to be enclosed with decorative wrought iron fencing that will include entrances eliminating the need to walk through the basketball courts for access.

Location: Marcus Garvey Park, Madison Avenue & 121st Street

3. Harriet Tubman Memorial Beautification Project-$175,000

Install irrigation system for new trees and ornamental gardens. Install path lighting to enhance visibility and safety. The Harriet Tubman Memorial is a special place in the heart of Harlem as it pays homage to the American abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Making the location more appealing will not only continue paying tribute to the legacy of a hero, but also will help increase foot traffic in the area to see the memorial. 

Location: St. Nicholas Avenue and, Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10027

4. Ollie Edinborough Playground Upgrade- $450,000

Ollie Edinborough was a community leader who not only gave service in our armed forces but served our community by mentoring our Harlem youth. He imparted the lessons he learned in life through sports fundamentals right here in Ollie Edinborough Playground. The Ollie Edinborough Playground Upgrade will include a modernize water fountain, bottle fill station and new water spray playground area for youth to utilize as they enjoy the parks amenities and special activities of which continue to set the stage for same developmental experiences Ollie Edinborough provided in the past. This upgrade will improve these areas of the park which has remained untouched for over 20 years, giving the park attendees sources of hydration as we exercise play and learn in Ollie Edinborough Playground.

Location: Ollie Edinborough Playground, 582-600 St Nicholas Ave, New York, NY 10030

NYCHA Proposals

1. Polo Grounds Beautification-$400,000

Beautification of the Polo Ground outdoor open space which will include a barbeque area, with 1 trash can 2 trash receptacles, 3 barbeque grills, 3 concrete tables, and 3 picnic tables. Improvement of the Polo Grounds houses allow residents, community members, and visitors to have improved infrastructure to navigate through the complex.

Location: Polo Ground Houses

2. Security Cameras for Rangel Houses External/Internal-$600,000

CCTV coverage and new security camera installation internally and externally. Elevator security camera set up. Installation of security cameras for the Rangel Houses complex will help deter crime, help residents feel at ease during anytime of the day, and improve the safety of residents or visitors in the area.

Location: Ralph J. Rangel Houses

3. Drew Hamilton Houses Exterior Lighting- $600,000

Exterior lightning for Drew Hamilton houses will help residents and other community members feel safer at night because of the increased lighting of pathways and public ground areas.

Location: Drew Hamilton Houses

Transportation Proposal

1. Countdown Clocks with Bus Time Technology- $200,000

Countdown clocks at local bus stops throughout the district with MTA Bus Time Technology, to indicate bus arrival times and help riders plan waiting time.

Location: District Wide 

Education Proposals

1. Tech Grants for Harlem Schools- $400,000

PS 46, PS/IS 76, PS 129, PS 133, PS 185, PS197, Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School, Wadleigh Secondary School, Thurgood Marshall Academy &Frederick Douglass Academy II receiving 40K Tech Grants for technology upgrades. Technology grants will allow Harlem schools to receive new laptops, smartboards, and other technology that will make it more interactive for students to learn. These technologies will allow students of all ages to have the technology available to increase productivity.

Location: District Wide 

2. Broadband Upgrades for Harlem Schools- $150,000

Upgrade broadband connectivity, content filtering, anti-virus control and a centralized firewall to support technology for our schools. Students in Harlem schools will be able to use the Internet faster to complete assignments and teachers will be able to receive and send messages in a timely manner. Broadband upgrades will also help increase productivity in Harlem Schools with the faster speeds it will provide.

Location: PS 46, PS 129, PS 133, PS/IS 180

3. PS/IS 180 Hydroponics Lab Upgrade- $170,000

Hydroponic lab upgrade at PS/IS 180 to expand and enhance green initiatives for the community. The upgrade of the hydroponics lab will allow students to grow crops and analyze them efficiently. This makes it possible for students to gain additional skills while growing crops such as time management organization, collaboration, and the process it takes to grow crops.

Location: Public School 180 Hugo Newman 370 W 120th St, New York, NY 10027

During Vote Week, District 9 residents will vote at various voting sites throughout the district or online on which projects to fund. Residents can vote for projects if they live in the district and are at least 11 years old or are in 6th Grade. Each voter may cast five votes, and may cast one vote per project. At the time of voting, all voters must satisfy the eligibility requirements by completing an affirmation.

During Vote Week, my office and our Budget Delegates will be hosting a District 9 PBNYC Project Expo on Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr., State Office Building, 2nd Floor Community Room. Come out and learn more about PBNYC, hear from our Budget Delegates and about their proposals, and vote for your favorite projects! If you would like to RSVP please call my office at 212-678-4505. Hope to see you there!