JEFFERSON PARK — For the fourth year in a row, residents of the 45th Ward will decide how to spend Ald. John Arena's $1 million discretionary budget.
Arena will host five neighborhood assemblies in the coming weeks to begin to develop the infrastructure projects that residents will ultimately vote on in the spring.
The participatory budgeting process is intended to give ordinary people decision-making power over the city's budget, Arena said.
The neighborhood assemblies are scheduled to take place at:
• 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Branch Community Church, 6125 W. Foster Ave.
• 2:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at Hitch Elementary School, 5625 N. McVicker Ave.
• 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at St. John Episcopal Church, 3857 N. Kostner Ave.
• 1:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at Schurz High School, 3601 N. Milwaukee Ave.
• 10:30 a.m. Nov. 21 at the Jefferson Park branch of the Chicago Public Library, 5363 W. Lawrence Ave.
After the assemblies, where refreshments and pizza will be served, committees made up of volunteers will evaluate the long wish list of potential projects for feasibility and cost. The committees will ultimately decide which projects will make it on to the ballot.
In the spring, the committees will host several project expos to present the projects members picked for the ballot and answer questions from residents of the far Northwest Side ward, which includes parts of Portage Park, Jefferson Park, Old Irving Park, Forest Glen and Gladstone Park.
About $300,000 will be held back to cover cost overruns and emergency projects, said Owen Brugh, Arena's chief of staff.
For more information, call the 45th Ward office at 773-286-4545 or email Brugh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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