UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — It is once again time for Upper East Siders to weigh in on how to spend more than $1 million to improve their neighborhood through the city's participatory budgeting process.
The process — which has residents brainstorm, pitch and vote on ideas for local funding — opened this month in District 5, which includes the eastern stretch of the Upper East Side as well as Roosevelt Island.
Councilmember Ben Kallos has $1 million for capital projects — brick-and-mortar, physical infrastructure work — to allot to his constituents. (City Councilmember Keith Powers, who also represents part of the Upper East Side, has not yet announced a budgeting program for this year.)
Kallos's office is asking constituents ages 14 and older to submit proposals within the district boundaries and with a cost ranging from $50,000 to $500,000.
Last year's winning proposals that received funding included $250,000 to improve parks around the district, $225,000 to plant 60 new sidewalk trees and $350,000 to buy laptop carts for 10 public schools in the district.
The city's ideas map shows suggestions from residents around the city about where funding should go. On the Upper East Side, recent suggestions include outdoor table tennis tables, "clean up after your dog" signs and bags for pet waste disposal, and improvements to the East River Esplanade.
The City Council's participatory budgeting program has been up and running since 2011. After starting with just four members that year, the program has expanded significantly since then, with 33 members participating in 2020.
Residents with questions can submit them to PB@BenKallos.com.
Anna Quinn contributed to this report.