District 34 residents spend $1.2 million
by Patrick Kearns
May 05, 2015 | 2361 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilman Antonio Reynoso speaks with volunteers during the participatory budgeting process.
Councilman Antonio Reynoso speaks with volunteers during the participatory budgeting process.
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Brooklyn and Queens residents took part in the democratic process and are getting even more than they bargained for in $1.2 million in funding for capital improvements from their councilman.

On Monday, Councilman Antonio Reynoso announced the results of the participatory budget ballot: two school upgrades, a playground upgrade, new basketball courts and a senior van.

Originally, the plan was to only allot $1 million for projects, however, due to the overwhelming amount of participation, Reynoso decided to back five total projects.

The projects are:

• Environmental Upgrade to P.S. 19/Brooklyn Arbor School Playground: a $400,000 project that includes new lights, benches, a green wall to cut down on pollution, a rain water garden and a safety fence.

• Community Technology Library and Media Center at M.S. 582: a $300,000 project that includes a state-of-the-art computer lab attached to the library. The new technology will serve both the students and the community for special events.

• Playground Renovation at Williamsburg Houses: a $300,000 project replacing old sprinkler rims, basketballs courts and blacktop.

• New Basketball Court for Cooper Park Houses: A $205,000 commitment to resurfacing the hardwood floors.

• Passenger Van for Seniors at Diana H. Jones Senior Center: a 14-passenger van to pickup and drop off seniors at the senior center.

The participatory budget process started in the fall, when community volunteers worked together to nominate projects they’d like to see in their community. After the creation of the projects, volunteer committees formed and turned them into proposals to educate the community.

Residents finally had their chance to vote on the myriad projects and the people have spoken. It was the strong voter turnout that inspired Reynoso to commit more than the original $1 million that he set aside.

While the voting was happening though, he acknowledged that there’s always room to improve and he’d love to get even more residents involved in the future.

“You want more, always,” Reynoso said. “If I could get 10,000 people I would love to introduce it to 10,000. But given the resources we have, that’s going to be very difficult to do.”

He also praised the parents and volunteers for getting the community excited about the projects.

“There’s a couple of projects where the parents and the people that are sponsoring them were going crazy getting people to vote,” he said.

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