Residents Choose Park Improvements
Nearly Two-Hundred Fifty Residents Cast Votes in
First-Ever PB360 Project
Niagara Falls, NY – Voting for the City of Niagara Falls Department of Community Development’s participatory budgeting initiative, dubbed “PB 360,” came to a close on August 31, and the results have now been tallied. The PB360 process empowered city residents to propose park improvement projects and vote directly on the allocation of $360,000 in Community Development Block Grant from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds to carry those projects out. The idea phase of the initiative was carried out in July, when a series of public meetings led to dozens of ideas being proposed.
Direct voting took place throughout the month of August, at community events and at “pop-up” polling places in various City parks. City residents could also cast votes in the Community Development office each Thursday in the month of August.
“It was important to go to where people are,” Seth Piccirillo, the Department’s director, described. “It’s not convenient for many people to visit a polling station during working hours, so we took a creative approach to maximizing public participation. By going to the people putting the parks to use, we think we have come up with a list of projects that will really serve the City.”
The only requirement to vote was to live in Niagara Falls. Each resident was allowed to vote for up to three of the ten proposed projects available. With 248 Niagara Falls residents voting, the ranking of projects is as follows:
Gill Creek Park - Construction of a basketball court on South Side of park - 102 votes
Hyde Park - Construction of basketball court - 99 votes
Hyde Park - Construction of new playground "pod" - 93 votes
Liberty Park - Replace outdated, damaged playground - 85 votes
Hyde Park - Construction of an additional shelter - 81 votes
Gluck Park - Addition of security lighting - 77 votes
Hyde Park - Addition of benches along walking path - 65 votes
Jerauld Park - Construction of walking path - 61 votes
Jerauld Park - Construction of horseshoe pits - 39 votes
Wright Park - Planting of ornamental trees - 16 votes
The City will expend funds on the highest voted project and go down the list until all $360,000 is spent. According to current cost projections, NF CD believes the first five projects will be achievable with the original $360,000. Community Development is seeking other funding sources and cost-saving measures to supplement CDBG funds so that more community-driven parks projects can be done.