Upper East Siders Vote to Spend $1,000,000 on Schools, Libraries, Park Upgrades

Participatory budgeting lets voters decide how $1M is spent
Participatory budgeting lets voters decide how $1M is spent/EnvatoElements

MANHATTAN – The people have spoken, choosing six proposed improvement projects for the Upper East Side to share more than one million dollars in taxpayer money. The funding, allocated by City Council Member Julie Menin, will be spent on upgrades at several public schools, libraries and Carl Schurz Park.

On Monday, Menin’s office announced the winning neighborhood projects, selected by nearly two-thousand Upper East Siders who voted during the process known as‘participatory budgeting,’ which gives residents a say in how taxpayer money is spent. 

Participatory budgeting was such a success, Council Member Menin says she upped the total amount of money being allocated by nearly four hundred thousand dollars.

“In response to the enormous success of this year’s cycle and the critical need for capital improvements, I am proud to raise my commitment to $1,380,000 to fund an additional three,” said Council Member Julie Menin.

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“Hundreds of constituents have reached out to our office about these projects so it is great to foster civic engagement in the entire community and help these projects come to fruition,” Menin added.

The winning projects are as follows:

Schoolyard Resurfacing, $380,000

  • Slippery, dirty, dilapidated outdoor mats MS 114 and PS 138 on East 91st Street would be replaced under this project. MS114’s principal says the schoolyard has drainage issues and the slick and buckled surface limits school activities and gets students dirty.
Kids hands left dirty after playing on dilapidated mats at MS 114
Kids hands left dirty after playing on dilapidated mats at MS 114/Council Member Menin’s office

Technology Upgrades at New York Public Libraries, $250,000

  • Funding would pay for new desktop computers, laptops, printers, and wifi and networking equipment at the Webster Library on York Avenu, the 67th Street Library and te Roosevelt Island Library.

Carl Schurz Park Pathway Repaving, $300,000

  • Ten thousand square feet of pathways inside Carl Schurz Park would be repaved with the funding, providing a major upgrade from the broken pavement and patchwork found on some paths in the park.
Project would repave 10,000 square feet of pathways in Carl Schurz Park/Upper East Site
Project will repave 10,000 square feet of pathways in Carl Schurz Park/Upper East Site

Other UES projects also receiving funding under participatory budgeting include:

Four NYPD Surveillance Cameras, $162,000

  • The cameras would be installed in locations chosen by the NYPD. 

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School Water Bottle Filling Stations, $64,000

  • PS 151, also known as Yorkville Community School, would get eight new water bottle filling stations spread across the school’s five floors. 
Yorkville Community School on East 88th Street would receive new water bottle filling stations/Upper East Site
Yorkville Community School on East 88th Street will receive new water bottle filling stations/Upper East Site

School Bathroom Renovations, $225,000

  • The project at MS 177 would renovate one faculty and one student bathroom, both described as being in a general state of disrepair, replacing sinks, faucets, toilets, soap dispensers, mirrors, tile floors, stalls, paper towel dispensers and urinals.

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“I am thrilled that our Office’s first annual participatory budgeting process was an unqualified success with robust community engagement,” said Council Member Menin.

“I look forward to growing participatory budgeting in future years!”

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