West Siders vote to fund trees, tech and more

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Participatory Budgeting results announced for UWS council districts


  • Upper West Siders voted to fund new windows for FDNY Engine Company 74’s historic West 83rd Street firehouse in this year’s Participatory Budgeting process. Photo: Jim.henderson, via Wikimedia Commons

  • P.S. 166 The Richard Rodgers School on West 89th Street will receive technology upgrades including new smartboards and computers after Upper West Siders voted to fund the improvements through Participatory Budgeting. Photo: Adam Fagen, via flickr

Improvements targeting schools, trees and libraries are among the projects on tap for the Upper West Side this year after more than 5,000 residents cast votes to fund their preferred capital projects through the City Council’s Participatory Budgeting program.

The sixth and seventh council districts each had record vote totals in the seventh cycle of Participatory Budgeting, which lets residents vote on how to allocate $1 million in discretionary funding in their district.

Four projects will receive funding in Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s sixth council district, which includes most of the Upper West Side. “This year’s project competition was our most successful to date — 3,583 residents voted for their favorite community initiatives, about 500 more than last year,” Rosenthal said.

This year’s top vote-getter was an initiative to fund technology upgrades in three Upper West Side public libraries. St. Agnes Library on Amsterdam Avenue at 81st Street, Riverside Library on Amsterdam Avenue at 65th Street and the Library for the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center will each receive funding for laptops, desktops, printers, self-checkout kiosks and Wi-Fi improvements.

Residents also voted to fund technology upgrades at P.S. 166, the Richard Rodgers School of Arts & Technology, on West 89th Street. The school will receive new smartboards, desktop computers, tables and chairs in its classrooms and technology lab.

The other two winning projects in the district will fund guards to be installed around 35 trees lining the neighborhood’s sidewalks and new energy-efficient windows in FDNY Engine Company 74’s historic firehouse on West 83rd Street.

Residents of Council Member Mark Levine’s seventh district, which extends from 96th Street to 165th Street on the West Side, cast over 2,000 votes to fund five projects, including technology improvements at local libraries and M.S. 54, the Booker T. Washington Middle School, on West 107th Street.

The other winning projects in Levine’s district were new bus countdown clocks along Broadway, external lighting at NYCHA’s Grant Houses and technology upgrades at P.S. 36, the Margaret Douglas School.

“It’s truly amazing to see how our community comes together to get things done through this process,” Levine said in a statement. “This year’s winners represent an incredible cross section of projects from across my district, from libraries at all three 7th District libraries, to technology upgrades at M.S. 54 on the Upper West Side and P.S. 36 in Harlem.”

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