Greenpoint Gazette
Amanda Cordero
Antonio Reynoso

Schools and Public Housing Also Score Big in District 34

BY Tanay Warerkar

Results for participatory budget funding in Councilman Antonio Reynoso’s district, which organized the process for the first time for its constituents this year were announced Friday at a celebration held at the Mediterranean restaurant Dar 525 Friday evening.

Much like in neighboring district 33, schools-related projects and public housing scored big in district 34 as well.

The top vote getter was Brooklyn Arbor School, which will receive $400,000 in funds for its school playground for the installation of lights, benches and a greenwall to absorb the pollution from the adjoining Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. In addition the funds will allow for rainwater garden and outdoor classroom facilities.

This project was followed by a proposal on part of M.S. 582 on Bushwick Avenue. The $300,000 the school was awarded will go towards a state-of-the-art computer lab and library, which will be open to use by the community.

In third place, $300,000 was awarded to playground renovations at the Williamsburg Houses on Maujer Street. This will allow for the replacement of old-water filters with new water-efficient ones, provide new surfaces for the basketball courts and new benches.

While the three projects accounted for the $1 million the Councilman can allocate through the PB process, he has also decided to award funding to two additional projects.

The Cooper Park Houses on Kingsland Avenue will receive just over $200,000 for a new basketball court.

And Bushwick seniors can breathe a sigh of relief, as $45,000 will help the Diana H. Jones Senior Center on Knoll Street purchase a passenger van that will pick up and drop seniors to and from the center. The center is visited by over 200 seniors daily.

The first ever participatory budgeting process in Reynoso’s district saw a voter turnout of more than 3,000 people. Work on the proposals had started last fall and over the last few months volunteers and community members worked together to put together 17 different proposals that ultimately went to the ballot.

“I am very pleased with the results of the first PB process in District 34,” said Reynoso. “In fact, I chose to allocate more than the $1 million I originally pledged to fund proposed projects, and I’ll be allocating more than $1 million again next year. I am especially proud that we had the third-highest number of votes of any district in New York City, with over 3,000 people from my district casting a ballot. It was great to see so many people excited about civic participation, and I can’t wait to start the process again.”

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