Brooklynites Pitch Ways to Spend $1 Million in City Money

By Nikhita Venugopal on March 20, 2014 7:21pm 

Slideshow
 District 39 hosted its participatory budgeting expo March 19 at Camp Friendship in Park Slope.
Participatory Budgeting Expo
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PARK SLOPE — Security cameras, an industrial shredder and a safer, greener Fourth Avenue are some of the neighborhood improvement projects community members want in City Councilman Brad Lander’s district.

Thirteen projects were proposed Wednesday night at Lander’s participatory budgeting expo for District 39, which includes Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, and Boro Park. The community has $1 million in taxpayer money available for the projects it chooses.

Two proposals would repair shabby areas in parks and playgrounds like a cracked basketball court at Ennis Playground for $250,000. Another $215,000 project would resurface three pathways in Prospect Park. 

Budget delegate Marco Castillo wants to spend $200,000 on security cameras for each of the district’s four precincts. The precincts, which include the 76th Precinct in Carroll Gardens and the 78th Precinct in Park Slope, would determine where the cameras would be installed in the community, Castillo said.

The 78th Precinct has already recommended the west side of Prospect Park and the 76th Precinct suggested the footbridge across the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway at Summit Street.

“It would provide security and safety to the whole community,” he said.

Safety was also on the mind of delegate Josh Mack who supported a $300,000 project for improvements to Fourth Avenue in Park Slope.

Last year, the city’s Department of Transportation began a safety plan to transform Fourth Avenue, a deadly speedway where 53 people have been severely injured or killed between 2007 and 2011, according to the DOT.

Mack’s proposal would maintain some of those DOT improvements and also add greenery, benches and pedestrian plazas to the busy stretch between Eighth Street and 18th Street, he said.

Residents of District 39 who are 16 and older can vote for projects from April 1 to April 3 and on April 5 and 6.

Another proposal would fund the installation of electronic signs at 12 stops on the B67 and B69 routes. Similar to bus clocks that were proposed in District 38, the signs would indicate how many stops away the next bus would be, said delegate Bob Nelson.

Gowanus nonprofit organizations also gave their two cents on how to spend $1 million.

Rooftop Films, which screens independent movies at outdoor locations, is hoping to spend $45,000 on a media van. The organization is hoping to show more than 50 public screenings per year.

The Gowanus Canal Conservancy, which promotes environmental initiatives in the neighborhood, is advocating for an industrial shredder that will be able to process 600,000 pounds of food and yard scrap in a year — six times their current capacity, said Amy Plattsmier.

The group is asking for $105,000, which would purchase the shredder, called the “Muffin Monster,” and the ability to build a shed to store the powerful tool.

“It can process an automobile,” Plattsmier said.

For a full list of projects on District 39’s participatory budgeting ballot, visit this website.

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