Spend $1 Million In UES Funds: Participatory Budgeting Is Back

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Want more trees? Better libraries? Improved public schools? Here’s your chance to weigh in, as Upper East Siders get to decide once again how $1 million in city money should be spent.

Participatory budgeting is back for another year courtesy of City Councilmember Julie Menin, whose constituents in District 5 can now submit proposals online for projects that they deem worthy of getting funded.

After the Oct. 17 submission deadline, city agencies will evaluate each proposal, and Menin’s office will work with community leaders to narrow down the ideas to create a ballot that will go up for a vote.

Potential projects must benefit the public, cost at least $50,000, and have a lifespan of at least five years.

The winners of Menin’s previous budgeting round this spring included schoolyard resurfacing for two public schools, technology upgrades at three district libraries, pathway repaving at Carl Schurz Park, and four new NYPD security cameras.

“I look forward to engaging with the community and funding more great projects as we run Participatory Budgeting for a second year,” said Menin, noting that 1,800 constituents cast ballots during the previous round.

Proposals must be within Menin’s district, which covers Yorkville, Roosevelt Island, and parts of Lenox Hill and East Harlem. Neighboring Upper East Side Councilmember Keith Powers has not announced any participatory budgeting program this year.

Participatory budgeting has become something of a tradition in District 5: former member Ben Kallos ran the program every year during his eight-year tenure in the Council. The winning projects for his final year in 2021 included $750,000 for laptop carts and STEM programs for local schools, and $187,000 to plant 50 new sidewalk trees.

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