UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — The results are in after 534 Upper East Side residents voted on how they wanted $1 million of their City Council member's money to be spent on neighborhood improvements.
The two winning projects in this year's round of participatory budgeting in Ben Kallos's District 5 are: $750,00 for laptops and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs at 15 schools in the district; and $187,000 to plant 50 trees with guards on sidewalks.
"I am proud of the millions of dollars our community has voted on over the years. Our residents have prioritized education and beautifying our neighborhood this year," Kallos said Wednesday when his office announced the results.
Voting was open on Kallos's website between April 5 and April 14 to any district resident age 11 and over. He was one of just four Council members who set aside money this year for participatory budgeting. (Plans for a citywide program have been delayed due to the pandemic.)
Here are the full vote results for District 5 participatory budgeting (residents could vote more than once):
- $187,000 - 276 votes (51%) - plant 50 new trees with guards on sidewalks throughout the district
- $750,000 - 193 votes (36%) - laptop carts and STEM programs for 15 District 5 schools
- $500,000 - 172 votes (32%) - expansion of the children's play areas in Rupert Park
- $700,000 - 164 votes (31%) - purchase and install new play equipment at NYCHA Lexington Houses
- $285,000 - 155 votes (29%) - purchase and install public safety cameras to cover five high-traffic locations
- $250,000 - 140 votes (26%) - repair and finish the flooring, upgrade the lighting and replace all safety wall padding at P.S./I.S. 217 gym
- $300,000 - 125 votes (23%) - replace the existing wheelchair lift at the New York Public Library at 328 East 67th Street with an improved design for accessibility
- $250,000 - 57 votes (11%) - fund the purchase of telemetry machines at H+H Coler Hospital
- $450,000 - 38 votes (7%) - renovate, update and configure bathrooms at Talent Unlimited High School
The leftover funding that makes up the $1 million will likely go toward more STEM programs at district, a spokesperson for Kallos said.
Kallos's office came up with the nine proposals after soliciting constituents' input and reaching out to neighborhood groups, volunteers and city agencies.