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Library Garden and School Upgrades Win Cash in Participatory Budget Vote

 Councilman Carlos Menchaca announced the winning projects of District 38's participatory budgeting program at Red Hook Library on April 15.
District 38's Participatory Budgeting Results
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RED HOOK — A fixed-up community garden, technology for local schools and a step towards keeping Red Hook students cool in the summer are some projects that will be funded through the city’s participatory budgeting process.

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca set aside $2 million of taxpayer money to pay for six out of 19 neighborhood improvement projects that residents voted for in District 38.

A few local schools, including P.S. 15 in Red Hook, will receive laptops and technology improvements after the proposal received 812 votes, Menchaca announced Tuesday night at Red Hook Library.

Along with P.S. 10 in South Slope, P.S. 15 will also receive $400,000 to upgrade the school’s electrical wiring system so it can hold a new air-conditioning unit.

The Red Hook school’s auditorium can get “dangerously stifling” during the hotter months, PTA president Lydia Bellahcene told DNAinfo New York last month.

The neighborhood will also get a revamped garden behind the library at 7 Wolcott St. for $85,000.

Almost 3,000 residents voted in District 38’s first participatory budget vote – a citywide record since the program began in 2011, Menchaca said.

More than two-thirds of the votes were cast in a language other than English in District 38, where there is a strong population of Chinese- and Spanish-speaking residents, he added.

A proposal that would install NYPD cameras along Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Avenues between 42nd and 62nd Streets in Sunset Park received the most number of votes at 1,890.

Other winning projects included resurfacing Seventh Avenue in Community Board 7 and a community room in the Sunset Park Library.

"This is a historic day for our district. We have empowered our residents to shape the improvements they want to see in their neighborhood schools, parks, streets and libraries,” Menchaca said in a statement.

“In our first year, I am proud to report that nearly 3,000 answered our call and affirmed our quest for a more inclusive participatory democracy."