YAY!!!! A New Basketball Court for Cooper Park Community Center! Due to the compelling support that this project received in the Participatory Budgeting vote this year CM Reynoso chose to fund it as one of two runners-up. A good deal of good work went into getting the vote out. Fred Adutu the St. Nicks Alliance program director of Cooper Park Community Center with the help of Taurean Spears, Willie Goldwire, and Shaun Evans (three residents who also work at Cooper Park), plus the Deputy Director of Teen Programs at St. Nicks Alliance all shined in their efforts to motivate their neighbors to come in and participate in bettering their community by casting a ballot in the District 34 Participatory Budgeting Vote.
The two runners-up are in addition to the top three project winners for the 34th District. These three will split the allotted $1M, and they are: 1. Environmental Upgrade to P.S. 19/Brooklyn Arbor School Playground (325 S. 3rd St.); 2. Community Technology Library and Media Center at M.S. 582 (207 Bushwick Ave.); and Playground Renovation at Williamsburg Houses (176 Maujer St.)where Gwendolyn Campbell and Betty Anne Jones helped to bring in the voters.
Council Member Stephen Levin’s District 33 was also a major participant in Participatory Budgeting. District 33’s top three winners were: 1. Repairs to four NYCHA playgrounds across the district; 2. Green Space Landscaping and Beautification to obscure open piping and to add more plants and trees at the Taylor Wythe Houses, Independence Towers, and the Berry Street Houses all in South Williamsburg; and 3. A Safer Meeker Avenue where it intersects Lorimer Street, and Graham and Manhattan Avenues by adding sidewalk extensions. Over the last three years the corridor in questions has witnessed three fatalities and over 100 injuries as a result of the existing traffic conditions.
Becca Kaplan, a Greenpoint resident and the co-chair of the Transportation Alternatives Brooklyn Activist Committee that was one of several community organizations campaigning for a safer Meeker Avenue said, “Everyone I’ve spoken to echoed the sentiments that there need to be some changes along Meeker Avenue and this is just the first step. It’s really exciting to see that the project won and that so many people care about it and supported it.”
Although the vote is over for this year, you can get involved in what might be on the ballots for the upcoming year. Look forward to the Neighborhood Assemblies that are held each year in early fall. These are the foundation of the Participatory Budgeting process. Here residents come together to meet, brainstorm, and share ideas for projects that will be developed by volunteer committees. These events provide the ideas, inspiration and volunteers that power the rest of the Participatory Budgeting process. If you want to get involved in Participatory Budgeting a Neighborhood Assembly should be your first stop. Go to: http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/faq.shtml#when to check for the latest updates.