Community Development Launches PB 360
Citizens to Decide on Use of Public Funds for Park Improvements
Press Contact: Jarrett Steffen | (716) 286-8811
Niagara Falls, NY - The Niagara Falls Community Development Department has kicked off the first participatory budgeting process in the City’s history. Set to begin with public meetings in late June, the approach will give citizens a direct role in the allocation of $360,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to city park improvements.
“While we are always committed to seeking as much public input as possible before expending public dollars, this new process will give citizens the last word on where funds are spent,” explained Seth Piccirillo, Director of Community Development. “We see participatory budgeting as a natural evolution of that commitment. PB 360,” the shorthand name for the new initiative, “will give residents a more hands-on relationship with their city government.”
The idea is a relatively new one, with only one other city, Oakland, CA, having utilized participatory budgeting in the expenditure of its CDBG funds. “We are always open to new ideas that give people a better connection to their community,” Piccirillo said.
Through two public brainstorming sessions in the month of June, the city will solicit ideas from citizens. In July, the city will create budgets for the proposed ideas. These ideas, and their budgets, will be voted on in August at various public events. The proposals that receive the highest number of votes, up to the total $360,000 budget, will be funded.
PB 360 will host its first public brainstorming session on Saturday, June 24 at Hyde Park next to the Sal Maglie Stadium parking lot from 10am to 12pm. The second public meeting will be held at the Carnegie Building (1022 Main Street) on Wednesday, June 28 from 6pm to 8pm. Adults and children alike are encouraged to attend these sessions to provide their ideas and input on what parks improvements they would like to see. Voting will take place at public events and places throughout the month of August. Interested participants are encouraged to review the city’s 2013 Citywide Parks Master Plan, “City in a Park,” which was published in 2013 using input from community meetings. This plan, as well as other information about PB360, can be found HERE.