PORTAGE PARK — Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) will hold three neighborhood assemblies Monday and Tuesday to gather ideas on how his $1 million discretionary budget should be spent.
Villegas, who also put his 2015 budget up for a vote, is working to develop the list of infrastructure projects that residents will ultimately vote on Oct. 9-22 at locations throughout the Northwest Side ward.
The first assembly will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at Community First Medical Center, 5645 W. Addison St.
The other assemblies will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Iglesia Evangelica Emmanuel, 5018 W. Armitage Ave., and at 7 p.m. Word of Life Church of God, 2254 N. Narragansett Ave.
Residents of the ward, which includes the south and west sides of Portage Park, can also submit ideas for the money via an online form or stop by the ward office, 6934 W. Diversey Ave., said Justin Heath, director of policy for Villegas.
A field at Locke Elementary School, a new splash pad at Bell Park, a community garden at Prosser Career Academy and trees were the big winners in the first participatory budgeting vote in the 36th Ward in May.
Voters will decide what percentage of the budget should be used to resurface streets, and as many projects as possible will be funded with the remaining money, up to $1 million. Approximately $300,000 will be kept in reserve for emergencies, officials said.
The annual pot of money given to each alderman is earmarked for infrastructure improvements — paving streets, upgrading traffic signals and replacing street lamps.
Most aldermen decide how to spend the money themselves, but in recent years a number of council members have begun soliciting project ideas from constituents and putting them to a vote, including Ald. John Arena (45th.)
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