Voting Underway: 9 Groups Seek $1.7M from Gale Brewers’ $1M Pot of Participatory Funds

Voting started March 25th and ends April 2nd. Residents as young as 11 years old can vote, as can non-citizens–as long as they reside within the upper west side’s District 6. But no ballot stuffing allowed: each eligible person is only allowed to vote once.

| 24 Mar 2023 | 11:38

Santa Claus is coming early to local schools, nonprofits, and civic organizations as council members get ready to divvy up a $27 million pie of discretionary funding with $1 million allocated to each of the 27 council members this year.

The top “asks” in Gale Brewers City Council district 6 are $250,000 each from various groups, for everything from new lighting in Riverside Park to air conditioning at Richard Rodgers School of Arts & Technology to security cameras on the Columbus Avenue and Broadway corridors. In all there are nine groups on the local ballot, looking for a total of just under $1.7 million to come from a funding pot containing $1 million.

Constituents of each districts will be given the chance to directly decide how to spend the money in a voting period that started on March 25th and ends on April 2. But with only $1 million, some of the requests may go unfunded. There’s no requirement for individual council districts to hold votes on how to handle this portion of their allotted funds and in fact 24 districts of the city’s 51 districts are not holding votes.

For those that are voting, it is open to everyone ages 11 (or at least in 6th grade) and older who live in one of the 27 participating Council Districts, regardless of immigration status, gender, race, ethnicity, or eligibility to vote in traditional elections.

For the Upper West Side district represented by Council Member Gale Brewer, the citizens get to chose from 10 budget items that were nominated by suggestions to the individual council members between November and March. The nominees are seeking anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 to fund their projects. The projects with the most votes up until $1 million has been accounted for will be funded. Current requests amount to $1.9 million.

Nominees in Gale Brewer’s District:

Riverside Park, Outdoor Adult Fitness Equipment, Riverside Park: $250,000 to create an area with exercise equipment for adult use that includes a section for group classes, and a water fountain.

Greening the Avenues: Trees & Tree Guards [Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues] $50,000. Install approximately 10 trees/tree guards on Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues for the environment and to offer additional shade.

Security Cameras [Columbus Avenue & Broadway Corridors] $250,000. Argus cameras on the Columbus Avenue and Broadway corridors, and other locations determined by the 20th and 24th Police Precincts.

Update Science Lab at Manhattan School for Children [MS 333, 154 W 93rd St] $200,000. Update the 30-year-old science lab by providing tables and cabinets to create an environment that promotes curiosity and learning.

Upgrade Cafeteria at Emily Dickinson School [PS 75, 735 West End Ave] $250,000. Soundproofing and lighting to provide an inclusive and safe environment for all students, particularly students in the ASD Nest program who are sensitive to sensory input.

New Lighting System for Little Flower Theatre in LaGuardia H.S.[100 Amsterdam Ave.] $250,000. This theatre serves 2,500 students daily, plus local community members. The current lighting system is failing and needs to be replaced.

Upgrade Electrical Wiring and Capacity at Center School [MS 243, 100 W 84th St.] $150,000. Center School needs an upgrade to its electrical service to support increased use of technology in classrooms.

Technology Upgrade for Classrooms at Sarah Anderson School [PS 9, 100 W 84th St.] $250,000. Thirty in-room smart boards for each classroom to ensure students and faculty have necessary access to technology.

Air Conditioning/HVAC Installation at Richard Rodgers School of Arts & Technology [PS 166, 132 W 89th St.] $250,000. The school’s cafeteria and auditorium, essential spaces for learning and social activities, are in need of air conditioning/HVAC installation.