Dist. 3 to be brighter, less thirsty, greener

Upgraded School Water Fountains – courtesy Corey Johnson’s office
At the March 28 District 3 participatory-budgeting expo, this station

BY GABE HERMAN | Lighting, water fountains and tree care were the winners in the most recent round of participatory budgeting for the Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced the participatory-budgeting winners for District 3 at his fifth annual West Side Summit on May 19.

The top vote-getter was a project to improve lighting in park areas at the Elliott-Chelsea Houses and Fulton Houses, two New York City Housing Authority developments in Chelsea. The project, which garnered 2,017 votes, will cost $600,000.

Advocating for better lights in Chelsea’s NYCHA developments at a March 28 expo on District 3 participatory budgeting. (Courtesy Corey Johnson’s Office)

Coming in second place was upgrading water fountains for the district’s public schools. A total of 35 new water bottle-refilling fountains will be installed throughout the district. This project received 1,993 votes, and will cost $300,000.

In the third spot was a street tree-protection package. It will provide a tree guard, watering Treegator and informative care tag for street trees district-wide planted since 2017. A total of 1,953 votes were cast for this tree package, which will cost $200,000.

Voting in the district took place from March 30 through April 7. There was also early voting at an expo in Chelsea on March 28. Each district that chooses to do participatory budgeting, gets a total of $1 million in capital funding for local projects.

At the March 28 District 3 participatory-budgeting expo, the activists at this station advocated for 35 new water bottle-filling fountains. (Courtesy Corey Johnson’s Office)

In all, 3,748 residents voted this year in District 3. Each person was able to vote for up to five projects, and anyone age 11 or older was eligible to vote.

District 3 covers much of the Lower West Side, and includes Chelsea, the West Village, Hell’s Kitchen and the Garment District.

All 10 of Manhattan’s City Council districts participated in this year’s participatory budgeting process, with the exception of Lower Manhattan’s District 1, which is represented by Councilmember Margaret Chin.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, center, spoke with constituents at the District 3 “P.B.” expo in March. (Photo by Gabe Herman)

This was the sixth consecutive year that District 3 held participatory budgeting. There were 12 project nominees this year, addressing a range of issues, from accessibility and park upgrades to transit improvements.

At the March 28 “P.B.” expo, Speaker Johnson toured all of the projects at separate stations and told this paper that people had done a great job in coming up with all of them. He said he was especially fond of two projects related to accessibility, one for accessible bathrooms at Park West High School and another for an accessible entrance at P.S. 51.

Those proposals were not winners, but Johnson noted at the expo, “All the projects here are very exciting.”