In 2016 for the first time in the history of the 31st Ward, we joined 6 other wards in implementing participatory budgeting (PB). PB Chicago (PBC) is an innovative initiative that lets resident decide how to spend $1 million of tax dollars for local infrastructure needs. Through the PB process, these funds controlled by Aldermen (“menu money”) are allocated by the community. Ward residents and stakeholders will propose spending ideas and develop project proposals, residents will vote on projects, and the list of projects that receive the most votes will be submitted to the Alderman for consideration! This project is a wonderful opportunity for community members to use their collective voices to implement the changes they would like to see in the 31st Ward.
For the 2016 PB process, residents voted for $555,000 of the million to be spent on resurfacing streets and alleys, new street lights on Kostner (Diversey-Belmont), and small improvements to our parks.
For the 2017 PB process, residents voted for $373,660 to be spend on streets and alleys, street lighting improvements, a dog park at Koszciusko Park, new curbs and sidewalks on 5300 W. Wrightwood, lighting improvements at Schubert Elementary School Playground, and screening and nets under viaducts at Diversey/Kenton and Belmont/Kenton.
Unfortunately, our Ward has seen a drastic decline in participation and interest from constituents in recent months. For 2018, we would like to hear from residents on whether or not we should continue the PB program. If you would like to see the PB program return this year, let us know by emailing us your thoughts/opinions (firstname.lastname@example.org) with “PB Survey 2018” in the subject line.