March 4, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
Council Member Costa Constantinides has released the ballot items for his district’s Participatory Budgeting session, which include upgrades to schools, community facilities, local parks and more.
Participatory Budgeting is a process that allows constituents to vote on how capital dollars are spent in their district. This year, $1.5 million are up for grabs, of which $500,000 is designated specifically for the East Elmhurst/Jackson Heights portion of Constantinides’ district.
Some of the bigger ticket items on the ballot include $500,000 for upgraded lights at the Astoria Houses basketball court, a $500,000 Cyber Center upgrade at the Astoria Library (14-01 Astoria Blvd.) and $480,000 for countdown clocks on 10 bus lines.
There are several potential projects at Astoria Park, including $250,000 for permanent gaming and picnic tables, $300,000 for new safety equipment at the senior pool and $500,000 for repairing and installing water fountains around the park.
Long Island City High School is also heavily featured on the ballot. Proposed projects include a $490,000 auditorium upgrade for new seats, stage lighting and curtains and audiovisual equipment, $150,000 for new SMART Boards and $400,000 for bathroom upgrades.
Of the 20 projects on the ballot, three are dedicated to East Elmhurst: a $400,000 upgrade to playground equipment at PS 2, a $250,000 upgrade to fitness equipment at Bulova Park and a $150,000 handball court repair at Bulova Park. Several of the bus lines proposed for countdown clocks travel through East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.
Voters will choose their top five projects from the ballot.
According to Constantinides, the ballot proposals were narrowed down from hundreds that were proposed during Participatory Budgeting assemblies last fall.
“So far this year, nearly 400 residents have participated in the process, sharing their ideas and discussing what the district needs,” Constantinides said. “I’m proud of this neighborhood for taking such a strong interest in the civic process and I’m looking forward to seeing what the community will decide on this year.”
Voting will take place from March 28 to April 3. Residents can cast their ballots at the following sites and times:
Constantinides’ office, 31-09 Newtown Ave.: March 28 to April 1, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and April 2 to 3, noon to 7 p.m.
Bruno’s, 88-25 Astoria Blvd.: March 28, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Urban Upbound, 4-25 Astoria Blvd.: March 29, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and April 3, noon to 7 p.m.
Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Ave.: March 30, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and April 2, noon to 7 p.m.
Boulevard Gardens Assembly Hall, 51-42 30th Ave.: March 31, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and April 3, noon to 7 p.m.
Community Board 1, 45-02 Ditmars Blvd.: April 1, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Steinway Library, 21-45 31st St.: April 2, noon to 5:30 p.m.
“I’m anticipating a big turnout from the community to vote on these proposals next month,” Constantinides said.
A full voter’s guide with all of the ballot items is below.