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 allocated $360,000 in the 2017 Action Plan for participatory budgeting.  Called "PB 360,"  NF CD seeks yours ideas and participation in community-led, direct decision-making.

PB 360 - 2018

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.  For example, City Hall is a recognizable place that means something to the residents of Niagara Falls.  However, this example is already an established place.  This initiative seeks to decide what public infrastructure or improvements are needed to create, restore, and/or enhance places throughout Niagara Falls.

NF CD will provide examples, prompts, and stories about placemaking throughout Winter 2018 to get the community starting to think about what they would like to see.  In Spring 2018, NF CD will host public meetings and workshops to gather ideas from the community on what we need to create, restore, and/or enhance places throughout Niagara Falls.  In Summer 2018, a list of qualifying ideas will be turned into ballot items and the public will have the opportunity to decide through a public vote.  In late Summer/early Fall 2018, NF CD will announce the winning proposals and get to work on putting them into practice.

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)

NF CD will be updating this page with more resources for research and community discussion.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Jarrett Steffen, Compliance Officer, at jarrett.steffen@niagarafallsny.gov.

PB 360 - 2017

The theme for PB 360 in the 2017 Action Plan was "Public Parks."  2017 marked the first year of Participatory Budgeting (PB) in Niagara Falls with $360,000 of HUD CDBG funds.  Known as "PB 360," this effort was the second instance of using CDBG funds for PB in the nation.  PB360 is an advancement of the participatory process already employed by NF CD for its yearly action plans and used the 2013 Parks Master Plan (also created out of public participation) as a starting point. 

The goal was to decide where and what should our next parks improvements be.  Members of the public provided ideas at two brainstorm sessions in June 2017.  Those ideas were refined into ten ballot items that went to public vote.  Voting was held at public events and in public places throughout August 2017 in an effort to engage people where they are.  The votes were tallied and the highest vote-getter recevied funding and the process was repeated until $360,000 of project budgeting was reached.  Below are the funded projects:

Gill Creek Park - Basketball Court along Royal Ave - 102 votes - $15,000
Hyde Park - Basketball Court - 99 votes - $25,000
Hyde Park - New Playground Pod - 93 votes - $75,000
Liberty Park - Replace Playground Set - 85 votes - $200,000
Hyde Park - New Shelter - 81 votes - $10,000

The next budgeted item caused the budgeted amount to be over $360,000.  With remaining funds and after the funded projects are complete, any money left over will be used to fund the following projects:

Gluck Park - Security Lighting - 77 votes - $75,000
Hyde Park - Walking Path Benches - 65 votes - $8,000
Jerauld Park - Walking Path Construction - 61 votes - $20,000
Jerauld Park - Horseshoe Pit Construction - 39 votes - $1,000
Wright Park - Tree Planting - 16 votes - $1,000

If you have any questions, please contact Jarrett Steffen, Compliance Officer, at jarrett.steffen@niagarafallsny.gov or by calling (716) 286-8811.

"City in a Park" Citywide Parks Master Plan

In 2013, the City engaged in a public participation process to create a master plan for city parks in Niagara Falls.  PB 360 looks to use this master plan as a jumping off point for discussion in the participatory budgeting brainstorming sessions.  Residents are welcome to reference the "City in a Park" documents below to initiate discussion and idea development.

"City in a Park" City of Niagara Falls 2013 Citywide Parks Master Plan
Appendix A - A Historical Perspective of the Park System
Appendix B - Community Engagement Summary
Appendix C - Park Summary Sheets
Appendix D - Recreation Stakeholder Input
Appendix E - Analysis Maps
Appendix F - Individual Park Master Plans
Appendix G - Opinion of Probable Costs