Citizens of North Brooklyn looking to ameliorate their community have three opportunities this week to directly affect some change through New York City Council’s Participatory Budgeting program. As described on the City Council’s website, Participatory Budgeting is “a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.” Each year, NYC council members decide whether they want their districts to participate in the PB process, and then spend a year organizing public meetings, speaking to members of their communities and getting an idea of what sorts of projects citizens need and want most.

Thanks to City Council Member Stephen Levin, the opportunity is being afforded to District 33, which includes Greenpoint and Williamsburg. This year, there’s $1.5 million dollars allocated. You’ve got three opportunities this week to go pitch your own ideas and hear ideas of fellow community members. The schedule for the remaining meetings is as follows:

  • Monday, Sep. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Spanish Church (161 South 3rd St.)
  • Tuesday, Sep. 20 at 6:00 p.m. at The Greenpoint Library (107 Norman St.)
  • Thursday, Sep. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at The Actor’s Fund (160 Schermerhorn St.)
  • Tuesday, Sep. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at WeWork Brooklyn Heights Office (195 Montague St.)
  • Wednesday, Sep. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at Independence Towers Community Center (114 Taylor St.)

The New York City Council currently has an interactive map posted online where people can post ideas for community improvement in their respective districts. This idea collection map, in combination with the neighborhood meetings, will serve as the means for collecting residents’ best ideas. Volunteers serving as “Budget Delegates” will then consult city agencies to turn these ideas into feasible propositions, which will be voted on in a district-wide vote in the spring. Ideas with the most votes will be awarded the money and put into action.

In District 33 last year, five ideas received funding, including $300,000 allocated to establishing safer pedestrian crossings on Meeker Avenue. From a glance at some of the proposed District 33 ideas on the city council’s idea collection map, some of this year’s proposals include a public art sculpture in McGolrick Park, a waterfront pedestrian path from Greenpoint down to Brooklyn Bridge Park, and new bathrooms at Transmitter Park. This is a very cool way in which neighborhood residents can directly enhance the community, so if you have a good idea, submit it here or get out to one of the neighborhood meetings this week and propose it!

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