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Residents Vote to Fund More Trees, Bus Countdown Clocks for Astoria

 City Councilman Costa Constantinides helps plant trees in Astoria Park in 2014. He will allocate $36,000 for new trees in his district this year.
City Councilman Costa Constantinides helps plant trees in Astoria Park in 2014. He will allocate $36,000 for new trees in his district this year.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

ASTORIA — More trees are coming to the neighborhood, thanks to $36,000 that'll be set aside to pay for the greenery — the winning project in this year's Participatory Budgeting for City Council District 22.

More than 3,000 residents in Councilman Costa Constantinides' district, which includes Astoria and parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, voted earlier this month on how the lawmaker should allocate more than $1 million for capital upgrades.

The plan to bring more trees throughout the district scored the most votes, with 1,471 people who chose to fund the project, the councilman's office says.

The $36,000 will cover the cost of planting about 20 trees and installing tree guards, according to Constantinides' office. The Parks Department will choose the locations for the new plants.

Residents also voted to spend $250,000 to install countdown clocks at 10 bus stops in the district, with locations to be determined by the Department of Transportation.

Another $250,000 will be used to build a new, accessible entrance for the Queens Library branch on Astoria Boulevard, while the Steinway branch will get $300,000 for solar panels. Library branches throughout the district will get technology upgrades with $125,000 in funds, according to a press release.

The remaining $60,000 will be used to upgrade the STEM lab at The Young Women’s Leadership School, at 23-15 Newtown Ave., with new laptops and 3D printers.

Constantinides says 3,617 people voted in this year's Participatory Budgeting, the most since he started the process in 2015. Residents were invited to community meetings last fall to suggest projects to go on the ballot, and the final picks were finalized by volunteers.

Winning proposals in previous years included money to build a dog run under the Triborough Bridge and install new water fountains and games and picnic tables in Astoria Park.