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45th Ward Votes to Fund Streets, Trees, Independence Park Playground

  About 500 people voted in the second annual participatory budget election, Ald. John Arena's office said.
45th Ward Participatory Budget Vote
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JEFFERSON PARK — The big winners in the 45th Ward's participatory budget election were streets, trees and a new playground at Independence Park, according to Ald. John Arena's office.

Fifty-five percent of Arena's $1 million discretionary budget will be used to repave streets throughout the ward that were badly damaged by the harsh winter, according to the results.

Heather Cherone joins DNAinfo Radio to discuss participatory budgeting results in the 45th Ward:

The blocks that that will be repaired, based on the streets listed in order of priority on the ballot are:

4900 through 5100 blocks of West Belle Plaine Avenue

5000 block of North Melvina Avenue

5200 block of West Carmen Avenue

4500 block of West Lavergne Avenue

5200 block of North Mason Avenue

6100 block of North Avondale Avenue

4300 block of North Lavergne Avenue

3700 through 3900 blocks of North Kildare Avenue

With $449,000 left for projects, about half of the voters picked trees as one of their top three priorities, with most choosing to plant 450 trees at a cost of $240,750. Each tree will cost $514, officials said.

Since November, about 400 trees have fallen victim to the Emerald Ash Borer, a pest that eats the trees from the inside out.

Voters also agreed to contribute $100,000 toward a new playground and other improvements at Independence Park, 3945 N. Springfield Ave. The rest of the funding for the $700,000 project will come from the state and the Chicago Park District — along with $100,000 that the park's advisory council has promised to raise.

And for the second year in a row, voters said to spend money to clean up the ward's viaducts, many of which are covered in pigeon droppings.

Ten viaducts under the Kennedy Expressway and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks will be washed, painted and get pigeon netting and spikes at a cost of $150,000.

Plans for buffered bike lanes along Lawrence Avenue and a project to resurface the tennis courts at Wilson Park fell short in the voting, according to the results.

Arena said he planned to conduct a participatory budget election next year, calling this year's election a great success.