Just how would you spend $1 million to improve the West Side? Hold that thought — because there’s a chance to sign up as a volunteer in the annual Participatory Budgeting (PB) process on Tuesday.

Erik Bottcher
Council Member Erik Bottcher will kick off the $1 million Participatory Budget process tomorrow. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Local officials are inviting Hell’s Kitchen and other District 3 residents to come along to the official kickoff event, running from 6pm to 8pm at the High Line’s 14th Street Passage on W14th Street and 10th Avenue.

A memo from City Council Member District 3 City Council Member Erik Bottcher’s office stated: “We would love for you to be part of the process and sign up to be a PB Delegate — volunteers who work to research, evaluate, and prioritize the project ideas submitted by community members. PB Delegates ultimately develop the final project proposals for the annual PB vote in the spring. They do this through research and assessments, as well as through consultations with City staff regarding project feasibility and cost.”

Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process implemented in 2011 on a district-by-district basis, which allows local residents to vote how they’d like to allocate $1 million of discretionary funding to infrastructure projects across their district. Participatory Budget projects must cost at least $50,000, benefit the public, and have a lifespan of at least five years. 

Columbus Branch New York Public Library
Columbus Branch of the New York Public Library was a winner last year. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Last year’s vote, in which more than 2,000 West Siders cast their ballot, awarded $150,000 in service of planting additional trees (which are said to cost upwards of $3,600 each), $250,000 allocated for updated computers and other digital access tools in libraries across the district, $350,000 for technology upgrades in all District 3 schools, including new computers, Chromebooks and user-responsive smart boards, and $350,000 to fix the broken air conditioning system at PS 111. 

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