39th Ward Participatory Budget voting starts Friday
by BRIAN NADIG
Voting for the 39th Ward participatory budget will begin Jan. 17 and run through Jan. 27.
Alderman Samantha Nugent (39th) is asking ward residents to choose how to spend $500,000 of the ward’s annual allocation of $1.32 million in discretionary funds, which must go toward public
nfrastructure improvements. An increasing number of aldermen are holding annual votes on their ward’s budget.
The approximately $800,000 funds which will not be voted on will be used for "critical" street repairs, including the resurfacing of side streets, a spokesman for Nugent said. Each ward, regardless of land size, receives the same amount discretionary, and aldermen typically use most of their ward funds for street resurfacing and curb and sidewalk repairs.
Proposals for the participatory budget were submitted to the ward office and were then vetted and finalized by a committee of volunteers from the ward, the spokesman said.
The projects fall under the categories of community and culture, parks and recreation, and safety and environment, and each ward resident age 14 or older will be allowed to choose up to five of the 13 proposals. Participatory budget is designed to allow high school students to vote as a way to introduce them to civic engagement, although the voting age can vary by ward.
Voting will be held from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at the ward office, 4200 W. Lawrence Ave., or online at aldermannugent.com. The office will be closed on Monday, Jan. 20, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The following is a summary of the proposed projects:
Two signs welcoming pedestrians to North Park and Albany Park on either side of the Chicago River footbridge at Bernard Street and Carmen Avenue.
Benches and trash cans on Bryn Mawr Avenue between Kedzie Avenue and Kimball Avenue and in a separate proposal benches and trash cans on Jersey/Kedzie Avenue, just north of Bryn Mawr.
Streetscaping elements, including benches and bike racks, on Lawrence Avenue between Pulaski Road and Cicero Avenue.
Peterson Park welcome signs at Saint Louis and Peterson avenues and at Devon and Springfield avenues.
Transforming the concrete playground at Volta School into a green space.
Installing pollinator learning gardens at Sauganash Park, Volta School and Sauganash School, and an outdoor drinking fountain at Sauganash School.
Other improvements include sidewalk repairs near Peterson School, repairing the sidewalk collapse in Sauganash at Lowell and Granville avenues, improving the pedestrian crossing/handicapped accessibility at Devon and Cicero avenues and installing traffic calming measures, including additional signage a pedestrian refuge island, at Peterson and Kilpatrick avenues, near Sauganash School and repairing sidewalks near Eugene Field Park.
Construction of all of the winning projects may not be completed in 2020. The former alderman, Margaret Laurino, did not hold a participatory budget vote.