2014-06-20 / Columnists


Bring Participatory Budgeting Back To Rockaway In 2015
By Kelsey Adolphs, Coalition Coordinator, The Far Rockaway/Arverne Nonprofit Coalition

Councilman Donovan Richards is to be thanked for bringing Participatory Budgeting to the Rockaway community within District 31—and consider this a request that he commit to doing so again next year.

The Participatory Budgeting process brought tremendous opportunity for the Coalition to work toward our mission of improving the Rockaway community for, and with, youth—particularly in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. It not only allowed our voices be heard, but also gave us the chance to engage our young people in the democratic and empowering process.

Although it was new to District 31, the Participatory Budgeting process was also highly successful in engaging the larger Rockaway community; voter turnout was the second highest citywide.

Now that we have a deeper sense of how Participatory Budgeting works—as a Coalition and as a community—we look forward to playing an even bigger role next year. We cannot afford to lose the momentum we have gained by foregoing Participatory Budgeting in 2015.

While we applaud the Councilman for taking a huge step forward in being one of only nine councilmembers in New York City to take part in Participatory Budgeting, we urge he not take a step backwards by failing to allow the process to continue in Rockaway next year.

We understand—and support—that he is committed to offering Participatory Budgeting in the other part of District 31 in 2015. With that said, just as Councilman Eric Ulrich successfully brought Participatory Budgeting to both the mainland and Rockaway portions of District 32, we are confident that it is also possible for the entirety of District 31 to engage in the Participatory Budgeting process. More importantly, we believe it is the right thing to do.

To mitigate the strain on the capacity of Councilman Richards’ office, the Coalition is willing to offer assistance coordinating the effort should Participatory Budgeting return next year to Rockaway.

We want him to seize the momentum of community engagement, and commit to bringing Participatory Budgeting back to Rockaway in 2015. We look forward to your continued commitment to democratic governance and empowering community voices.

The Far Rockaway/Arverne Nonprofit Coalition member agencies include: 101st Precinct Community Council, AIDS Center of Queens County, Child Center of New York, Church of God Christian Academy, North Shore LIJSchool Based Health Center, Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation, Police Athletic League, Queens Public Library, Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, Rockaway Youth Task Force, Safe Space NYC, The Action Center, The Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation, and more.

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