Ben Kallos attends a ribbon-cutting on the East River Esplanade in April 2019. Voting for this year's participatory budgeting projects opens April 5. (Jeffrey WZ Reed/New York City Council)
UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — For the eighth straight year, residents of the Upper East Side can vote to decide how $1 million of their City Council member's budget should be spent.
Nine different projects are in the running for this year's round of participatory budgeting in District 5, represented by Ben Kallos and covering the eastern stretch of the Upper East Side as well as Roosevelt Island.
Kallos has made about $1 million available for neighborhood projects — 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.)
Online voting will run from April 5 to April 14. (More information below on how to vote.)
Here are the District 5 projects on the ballot for participatory budgeting this year:
- $750,000 to purchase laptop carts for 10 District 5 schools
- $700,000 to purchase and install new play equipment at NYCHA Lexington Houses
- $500,000 for an expansion of the children's play areas in Rupert Park
- $450,000 to renovate, update and configure bathrooms at Talent Unlimited High School
- $300,000 to replace the existing wheelchair lift at the New York Public Library at 328 East 67th Street with an improved design for accessibility
- $285,000 to purchase and install public safety cameras to cover five high-traffic locations
- $250,000 to repair and finish the flooring, upgrade the lighting and replace all safety wall padding at P.S./I.S. 217 gym
- $250,000 to fund the purchase of telemetry machines at H+H Coler Hospital
- $187,000 to plant 50 new trees with guards on sidewalks throughout the district
If you're interested in voting, visit benkallos.com/pb/pledge and register to be notified once the vote week starts.
"My office has done Participatory Budgeting dating back to 2014; This past year was the exception. I am happy to have it back and glad to see the many worthwhile projects from education to parks and more," Kallos said in a statement. "I encourage every resident in the district to make their voice heard, cast their vote."
Any district resident age 11 and up or in 6th Grade and older is eligible to vote.
Since 2014, Kallos's office has allocated $6.4 million to winning projects. The most recent cycle's winners 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.