Participatory budget voting is underway in 36th Ward
by BRIAN NADIG
Voting is underway for participatory budgeting to determine how to spend the 36th Ward’s annual discretionary funds, while voting will start in October in the 45th Ward.
Alderman Gilbert Villegas recently announced that ward residents age 14 and older can vote at the ward service office at 6934 W. Diversey Ave., and at selected ward events and online by requesting a ballot at http://bit.ly/ RequestBallot36.
A ballot item is being featured on his Facebook page each day, and the voting deadline is Friday, Sept. 14.
The first question on the ballot asks what percentage of the discretionary funds should be allocated for side-street resurfacing. The second question asks voters to chose three of the following infrastructure improvement projects in the 36th Ward:
Baseball field improvements at Hermosa Park for $125,000, digital signs at Lloyd School and Chicago Academy for $135,000, sidewalk improvements around Blackhawk Park for $40,000, a pedestrian island on Central Avenue between Grand Avenue and Fullerton Avenue and other student-safety initiatives for $205,000, turn signals at the Oak Park-Diversey intersection for $60,000, and pedestrian countdown timers and turn signals at the Fullerton-Narragansett intersection for $70,000.
In all, voters will determine how to spend $1 million of the ward’s $1.32 million of discretionary funds, while the remaining funds will be reserved for emergency projects.
In the 45th Ward, Alderman John Arena plans to roll out final funding proposals for the 45th Ward ballot in mid-September, with voting to start in early October.
In the past few months participatory budget volunteers have been exploring the possibility of ornamental lighting on portions of Irving Park Road and Milwaukee Avenue, a community gathering spot near the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal, an awning over the basketball court at Gladstone Park, a dog run at the Austin-Foster Playlot Park, community gardens at area parks, several pedestrian sidewalk bump-outs and colored LED lights under the railroad viaduct in the 5000 block of North Milwaukee Avenue.
Voting is expected to be available in October at the ward office at 4754 N. Milwaukee Ave., several farmers’ markets in the ward and other community events.
Alderman Anthony Napolitano held a participatory vote in the 41st Ward earlier this year.