R U Ready 4 PB?

Day 1 of 2017’s vote for District 33: polling site was outside the BK Story Voyager. Benjamin Solotaire, Dist. 33’s Participatory Budgeting Coordinator, was there to assist the voters.

UPDATED CONTENT: This piece was updated on March 20th to include District 33’s ballot items, which were released earlier than the aforementioned March 30th.

Participatory Budgeting Vote Week is coming up! From March 30–April 7 you will have the opportunity to decide how your tax dollars are spent in your community (NYC Council Districts 33 and 34).  You may vote online at: www.Pbnyc.org./vote   or in person at scheduled polling places (check here for updates, District 33: www.stephenlevin.nyc/pbnyc District 34: www.council.nyc.gov/district-34 ).

This vote gives the community a direct influence on funding community projects to fruition via the City’s discretionary capital funds. Projects on the ballot went through a preliminary narrowing down by community members. The final items on the ballot address improvements to: schools, parks, libraries, public housing, traffic issues, etc.

The 2019 vote will mark the end of the 8th cycle of Participatory Budgeting. This idea to give the public direct power over part of the City’s purse became voting action in 2012 in only four council districts; the 2019 vote will have 34 participating council districts. Ideas for Cycle 8’s projects needed to be submitted by October 5, 2018 and were collected online or at community meetings. Then budget delegates and facilitators attended agency briefings and finalized proposals for city agency review. Between December and January, agency staff reviewed project proposals for capital eligibility. Finally, volunteers developed ballot items for the community to vote on that was based on the agency staff feedback.


District 33:

Their district’s projects on the ballot will be unveiled on March 30th, the first day of Participatory Budgeting vote week. District 33 has added a NEW element this year: a second ballot to select expense projects. Voters will get the standard Participatory Budgeting Ballot, which will allocate $1.5 million for capital projects. The second ballot will dole out $20,000 for expense projects “Expense projects are smaller, one shot ideas such as equipment for a senior center, weekly artist’s visits for Alzheimer’s patients, or a study of wildlife in one of our parks,” stated District 33’s Council Member Stephen Levin last October, on announcing this addition to his district’s Participatory Budgeting Vote. It will be a one-time disbursement for equipment, furniture, trainings, and new community engagement projects or programs.

“There are only two requirements to vote, you have to live in District 33 (don’t worry we can help you if you’re not sure) and be 11 years old or older! As always, you don’t have to be registered to vote, you don’t have to be a citizen, and they [polling places] will have materials in Spanish, Polish, and Yiddish. More info to come but mark your calendars!” said Benjamin Solotaire, Participatory Budgeting Director for Council Member Stephen Levin.

If you want to volunteer or have any questions please contact Benjamin Solotaire at bsolotaire@council.nyc.gov or at 718.875.5200

Capital Projects:

  • New Smart Boards for P.S. 31
    Provide state of the art smart boards to upgrade the educational opportunities for these elementary school students.
  • Automotive High School, 50 Bedford Avenue
    Make STEAM
    Increase creativity & opportunity for public school students by infusing the curriculum with cutting-edge skills & tools
  • Van Arsdale H.S. Campus, 257 North 6th St
    Weight Room Renovations
    Provide a safe, clean and new weight room for over 1,800 students to get physically fit.
  • I.S. 318, 101 Walton Street
    Renovated Library for Better Learning
    Make a better library for students to enjoy reading and studying. New Shelves and desks.
  • Around P.S. 380, 370 Marcy Avenue
    Safety First around P.S. 380
    Provide shorter and safer crossings at 4 intersections: Wallabout Street, Lynch Street, Lorimer Street and Union Street.

Projects outside of North Brooklyn

  • Dock Street School, 19 Dock Street (outside of North Brooklyn)
    New Laptop Carts for Middle School
    Help purchase six new laptop carts for grades 6-8, STEAM oriented technology      

  • P.S. 307, 209 York Street (outside of North Brooklyn)
    A/V Upgrades at P.S. 307
    Give a much needed upgrade to this community used auditorium with new audio and visual equipment.              

  • Vinegar Hill Community Garden Enhancements   (outside of North Brooklyn)
    199 York Street
    Add water and electrical supply to this popular garden to make the growing easier and more productive for all.            

  • PS 38 The Pacific School, 450 Pacific Street  (outside of North Brooklyn)
    Renovate Bathrooms for Elementary School
    Renovate four bathrooms, 2 girls and 2 boys, to provide clean and sanitary facilities.           


Expense Projects:

  • North Brooklyn Neighbors
    Count North Brooklyn! – An Accurate 2020 Census
    A campaign to dispel myths and increase responsiveness so that representation and funding are equitably distributed.
  • Williamsburgh Library, 240 Division Avenue
    More Books for Williamsburgh Library
    Help buy up to 200 more  books for the collection at this great resource for all Williamsburg residents.
  • Automotive High School, 50 Bedford Avenue
    Teaching Creativity with Digital Tools
    Training for teachers to use 21st Century tools, design thinking, & project-based learning in our Public Schools
  • Krakus Senior Center, 176 Java Street
    Pictures for Seniors
    Provide a pro-photo printer for seniors to take home mementos from special occasions.

Projects outside of North Brooklyn

  • Daughtry Day Care Center, 565 Baltic Street (outside of North Brooklyn)
    Inter-Generational Partnerships
    Kids and seniors from all walks of life together building respect and lifting horizons for everyone.

  • Gowanus Canal Conservancy (outside of North Brooklyn)
    NYCHA Gardening Project w/ GCC
    GCC, residents and the afterschool program will partner to enhance and expand garden plots using new tools & materials. Wyckoff Gardens, Gowanus Houses, Warren St.

  • Friends Of Thomas Greene Park (outside of North Brooklyn)
    Gowanus Grind & EXPO Gowanus
    Bring our communities together for the park’s future.  Students, skateboarders and families join to celebrate our park.         


 District 34:

Council Member Antonio Reynoso’s office list of this year’s project items that will be on the District 34 Participatory Budgeting Ballot include: nine education projects, two parks and recreation projects, and two projects for public housing.

  • Playground Upgrade at P.S. 75, $350K
    For improved equipment including new swings, slides, and more
  • Auditorium Upgrade at P.S. 84, $275K
    This will jumpstart an upgrade to their performance space and provide a new stage, lights, and chairs
  • Multimedia Library at P.S. 319, $200K
    For desktop computers, a projector, digital cameras, and more to outfit their new library
  • 21st Century technology upgrade at BK Arbor School, $270K
    This school is need of new smart boards for each classroom, laptops, charging stations, & desktops for students
  • New playground equipment at P.S. 239, $350K (Ridgewood)
    Funds for this project will go towards new and innovative equipment including a new jungle gym and flooring
  • Modern Technology at P.S. 257, $380K
    This will provide state of the art smart boards and laptops for their 40 classrooms
  • School Signage And Water Filling Station at William Gaynor Campus, $200K
    A digital billboard will distinguish the three schools, and the water stations will encourage students to reuse their bottles.
  • Playground Upgrade at P.S. 250, $350K
    Funds a renovation that includes resurfacing, new fencing, play equipment, and a designated green space
  • 9. Cafeteria Upgrade at P.S. 132, $500K
    This will allow their cafeteria to accommodate their growing population by installing new tables, floors and sound proofing
  • More Street Trees for District 34, $500K
    Let’s “green” the 34th District by installing over 200 new trees in all three neighborhoods. (Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Ridgewood)
  • Play Equipment for Grove Street Community Garden, $500K
    For a new playground set for the Grove Street Garden.
  • Playground Renovation at Cooper Park, $500K
    Renovation includes new play equipment, new mats, tables for seniors, a new sprinkler and more benches
  • Playground Renovation at Williamsburg Houses, $500K
    To expand the play area with new mats, equipment, and sprinkler


Participatory Budgeting Cycle 8’s voting week runs from March 30–April 7. You may vote online at: http://www.Pbnyc.org./vote    or in person at scheduled polling places (check here for updates, District 33: http://www.stephenlevin.nyc/pbnyc  District 34: http://www.council.nyc.gov/district-34  ).

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s