Participatory budgeting is a democratic decision-making process of direct citizen engagement to manage public money.  With funds from U.S. Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Niagara Falls has once again allocated $360,000 in the 2018 Action Plan for participatory budgeting.  Called "PB 360,"  NF CD seeks yours ideas and participation in community-led, direct decision-making.

The theme for PB 360 in the 2018 Action Plan is "Placemaking."  Placemaking is what it sounds like: making places.  Places are locations that have a recognized meaning by a group of people over time.  Places are where we grow up, live, work, play, and call home.  This initiative seeks to decide what public infrastructure or improvements are needed to create, restore, and/or enhance community places and belonging in three Niagara Falls to continue building on recent NFCD investments in those neighborhoods: North End, South End, and Middle Pine.  Each neighborhood has a pot of $120,000 set aside for placemaking initiatives that come from and are decided by Niagara Falls residents.

2018 PB 360 Timeline

June 21-28, 2018 - 6 Idea Sessions held for resident input on creating a ballot
July 2018 - NF CD reviews project ideas for CDBG funding eligibility, staff creates ballot and funding level estimates for ballot items
July 19, 2018 - Ballot item release, public voting begins
September 14, 2018 - Last day of public voting
September 25, 2018 - Final vote count released

2018 PB 360 Results

Total Voters: 304
(Voters could vote for no more than 3 projects on the ballot)

North End – Grove Street to Beech Ave, 9th Street to 15th Street
1. Community Center Request for Proposals (RFP) - 160 votes
2. Exterior Home Improvement Grant - 67 votes
3. Graffiti Wall Art - 65 votes
4. Underground Railroad Monument - 64 votes
5. Historical & Cultural Public Art - 40 votes
6. D’Amelio Fence & Crosswalk Paint - 35 votes

The Community Center RFP will be funded at $120,000. These funds could potentially be used for acquisition, rehab, and operation costs, depending on the details of the proposals received. The Department of Community Development will create a request for qualifications that will be released on Monday, January 7, 2019. This RFQ will allow time for community members to create or build capacity within an organization before submitting an application to a formal RFP, which will be released following the conclusion of the RFQ process.

Middle Pine – Ferry Ave to LaSalle Ave, 17th Street to 24th Street
1. Blight Clearance - 54 votes
2. Exterior Home Improvement Grant - 47 votes
3. Targeted Street Cleanups - 42 votes
3. Bike Repair Station - 42 votes
5. Pride Flags for Pine Ave - 30 votes
6. Power Box Public Art - 21 votes

Blight Clearance will be funded at $120,000. These funds will be used for demolition of properties that pose a safety risk as well as a negative visual impact on this neighborhood.

South End – Niagara Street to Pine Ave, 4th Street to 8th Street
1. Exterior Home Improvement Grant - 63 votes
2. Blight Clearance - 53 votes
3. Public Art Garbage Cans - 47 votes
4. 8th Street Pock Park Improvements - 33 votes

Exterior Home Improvement Grants will be funded at $120,000. Homeowners in the South End neighborhood will be able to apply for funding to assist in exterior home repairs starting Monday, January 7, 2019. Applicants will be screened by Community Development staff for program eligibility and conditions of their properties. CD staff will continue to develop program guidelines in the coming weeks to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Work on these homes is expected to begin in Spring of 2019.

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Questions? View our FAQ Page.
 


Additional Resources

Check out some of the resources below to learn about what placemaking is and how we can build better places in Niagara Falls as a community:

Project for Public Spaces (website)
"Simple Things, Great Places" (article)
Placemaking Chicago (Youtube video, 2:05)
Placemaking and Community (Youtube video, 9:29)

 

PB 360 - 2017

 Participants interact with each other and the  parks master plan  at the first pb 360 idea session of 2017.

Participants interact with each other and the parks master plan at the first pb 360 idea session of 2017.

2017 was the first year for Participatory Budgeting in Niagara Falls.  Using federal funds through HUD's Community Development Block Grant Program, Niagara Falls Community Development allocated $360,000 for public parks improvements using the participatory budgeting model.  This program became known as "PB 360" and is currently in the implementation phase of putting residents' ideas to use.

Click HERE to see how our inaugural year of PB 360 went!