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Participatory budgeting kicks off next week, $500,000 set aside for Jackson Heights/Elmhurst

Costa Constantinides with Daniel Dromm

Costa Constantinides with Daniel Dromm

Sept. 9, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

Western Queens residents can learn how to vote for funding on local projects starting next week.

Neighborhood assemblies begin on Sept. 16 for Participatory Budgeting in Councilman Costa Constantinides’ district, which covers Astoria and parts of East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside.

Through the Participatory Budgeting process, constituents vote on how to spend a pool of money allocated by their City Council representative.

Constantinides has set aside $1.5 million for Participatory Budgeting this year, up from $1 million last year. The additional $500,000 is specifically set aside for use in Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst.

“We are especially proud to allocate even more funding for this cycle to make it more inclusive and engage with our Jackson Heights residents,” Constantinides said in a statement.

Participatory Budgeting funds are only available for capital projects, meaning construction or improvement of City property. Capital projects that were funded through the last Participatory Budgeting cycle in this district included school technology upgrades, an Astoria dog run, and a playground for IS 126.

Participatory Budgeting begins with neighborhood assemblies, where residents can learn about the process and brainstorm project ideas.

Assemblies will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the following locations and dates:

Sept. 16, Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Ave., Astoria
Sept. 17, Boulevard Gardens Assembly Hall, 51-42 30th Ave., Woodside
Sept. 21, Bulova Corporate Center, 75-20 Astoria Blvd., East Elmhurst
Sept. 30, Astoria Houses Community Center, 4-25 Astoria Blvd., Astoria

Following the assemblies, volunteer budget delegates will develop project proposals, which will then be presented to the community early next year.

Residents will vote on the projects in the spring.

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