BY ANGELA MATUA
Councilman I. Daneek Miller announced on Wednesday the winners of participatory budgeting in his district covering parts of Jamaica, St. Albans, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Queens Village and Addisleigh Park.
The ballot included 23 projects, which were proposed, selected and designed by community members in public meetings starting in July of last year.
The top five proposals will receive $1 million in funding between them.
At 1,029 votes, the top vote-getter was a plan to enhance the Roy Wilkins Park outdoor performance space for programming such as readings or small concerts. It is expected to cost $450,000.
The Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC), the performing arts leg of the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) will receive $120,000 for equipment purchases and repairs to upgrade the sound and lighting systems in the 400-seat theater.
Cathy Hung, executive director of JCAL, said she was ecstatic when she heard the news.
“Thank you to a team of artists and students who advocated on JCAL’s behalf and the community members who voted for us,” Hung said. “With this grant, we will be able to bring JPAC to the highest artistic quality that is possible and to present the highest quality programs, whether it’s theater, dance, music or multi-media that we have been planning for the community.”
Residents in the district also voted to provide $400,000 for road resurfacing projects to take place along major thoroughfares in the confines of Community Boards 12 and 13 to protect vehicles and pedestrians.
I.S. 59 in Jamaica received 607 votes and $60,000 to purchase 10 smart boards and an overhead projector.
The last proposal to be funded, with 555 votes, was a technology upgrade to York Early College Academy in Jamaica. The school will receive $94,000 to purchase 13 smart boards with an overhead projector and laptop cart.
Miller said the relationships forged from this 10-month process are greatly valued in the district.
“This has been a tool to engage, empower, and organize our residents,” Miller said. “Regardless of who the final awardees are it is clear that our community has won. We’ve seen people come together — youths and senior and people from all different walks of life — to improve our neighborhoods and collaborate on meaningful projects.”