41st Ward budget voting starts Feb. 17; residents will choose among several community projects
by BRIAN NADIG
Alderman Anthony Napolitano is holding a participatory budget vote for 41st Ward residents age 16 and older starting Friday, Feb. 17, through Friday, March 10, at the ward office at 7442 N. Harlem Ave.
Napolitano is asking residents to decide how to spend $1 million of the ward’s 2017 allocation of $1.32 million in discretionary funds. The funds must be used for capital improvements, and several of the proposals include improvements to the Edgebrook, Norwood Park and Edison Park business districts.
The office is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Satellite voting locations will be announced later this month.
The ballot asks residents to vote on what percentage of the funds should be spent on street resurfacing, with the minimum amount being 60 percent.
The ballot also asks residents to rank in priority the four proposed community projects that would be paid with the funds.
The community garden and beautification initiative would include improvements to the Blue Star Memorial Garden at Harlem and Avondale avenues and to existing planter boxes on Oliphant Avenue between Northwest Highway and Olmsted Avenue and on Devon Avenue between Minnehaha and Kinzua avenues. It also calls for the establishment of a Wildwood community garden at Caldwell and Estes avenues. The improvements would cost about $25,000.
Streetscape improvements would include upgrades to existing ornamental tree grates and landscaping in the Norwood Park and Edgebrook commercial districts. The improvements would cost about $75,000.
Lighting improvements would include repairing and repainting light poles on Higgins Avenue between Harlem and Sayre avenues, on Harlem Avenue between Howard and Fitch avenues, and on Touhy Avenue between Harlem and Ozanam avenues. Additional light poles would be installed near Oriole Park School. The improvements would cost about $75,000.
Pedestrian and traffic safety improvements would include the establishment of diagonal parking on Ionia and Leoti avenues near Edgebrook school and the installation of a pedestrian refuge island on Avondale Avenue at Devon Avenue. It also would include the installation of a security camera near Oriole Park. The improvements would cost about $265,000.
Napolitano is one of a handful of aldermen who hold a participatory budget vote in their ward. This is the first time it is being held in the 41st Ward.
Input for the projects was taken at two community workshops which Napolitano held, and residents also were asked to send recommendations to his office.