Woodhaven has entered its 2nd year for Participatory Budgeting, a process in which money is set aside for citizens to decide how it is to be spent. Councilman Eric Ulrich has brought PB to District 32 North, consisting of Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park. CM Elizabeth Crowley has declined to participate so only residents who live in District 32 will be able to vote, though all residents are welcome to contribute ideas.
November's Town Hall meeting of the Woodhaven Residents' Block Association saw residents gather to discuss community issues and hold a brainstorming session to come up with good ideas to place on the PB Ballot. As residents came in, they were dropping off donations for the East Coast Car Association's Annual Toy Run to St. Mary's Hospital in Bayside.
As always, a big thank you to Assemblyman Mike Miller for providing pizza for the residents who came out to the meeting.
The meeting started with Officer Jose Severino of the 102nd Precinct giving us a report, reminding residents of the new 25-mph speed limit (unless otherwise posted) and warned residents about the Green Dot Scam, where scammers pretend to be from utility companies and try to trick unsuspecting people into buying these cards and diverting cash to them where the scammers can collect it (read more here).
Here is some video from the start of the meeting, with Officer Severino's report along with reports from representatives from Sen. Joe Addabbo, Assemblyman Miller and CM Eric Ulrich. WRBA Communications Director Alexander Blenkinsopp also gave a report of some recent issues in Woodhaven including the WRBA's various battles with the Department of Sanitation as well as the debate of a liquor license being sought by a pool hall.
Then, Greg Mitchell from Councilman Eric Ulrich's Office gave us all a brief explanation of the PB process as well as the type of projects which are eligible. All projects much be capital projects, brink & mortar type projects. The money cannot be spent on services or on any items which would require additional or yearly funding. Projects must also cost a minimum of $35K.
Residents broke up into groups at different tables and began discussing ideas. Some people came to the meeting with ideas while the resulting discussions generated new ideas.
At the end of the sessions, representatives from each small group revealed the ideas they came up with to the entire group.
Here is some video from the Participatory Budgeting Brainstorming Process:
Overall it was a great gathering of residents concerned about their community, coming out and participating. It was a great community gathering. Next meeting is Saturday, December 13th at 12 Noon at Emanuel United Church of Christ, 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, hope to see you there.
If you have any comments, or would like to suggest other projects, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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Photos by Joey Wendell