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Niagara Falls Community Development announces year 2 of participatory budget process

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Tue, Jun 12th 2018 12:50 pm
Building on 2017 successes, 2018 process seeks 'placemaking' initiatives in target neighborhoods
With projects chosen during last year's PB360 process now set in motion, the Niagara Falls Department of Community Development is set to kick off its second year of participatory budgeting.
The approach to government decision-making seeks ideas from local residents that are then voted on directly at public events and locations throughout the city.
"This is about a community making decisions together. We showed in 2017 that, when everyone is welcomed into the decision-making process, we can accomplish great things for our city," said Seth Piccirillo, director of community development. "We want to build on that success in 2018 and beyond."
$120,000 will be made available to each of three neighborhoods throughout the city. These areas adhere to income guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for public investment, and community-focused investments have been awarded in these neighborhoods in the past several years.
What is Placemaking?
Placemaking is a process and practice of planning, creating and maintaining places that build a stronger connection and interaction among people, public space and community living. Places are more than a location with new public improvements. They are areas of communities where people live, work and play, with a shared meaning over time. The placemaking process involves listening to stories and drawing ideas from residents on past, present and future places in the community they share to help decide on the right public investment municipalities can make to improve the places residents live.
"Public improvements for placemaking efforts, no matter how big or small, only add value to places when residents participate in the decision-making process," Piccirillo said.
What are Some Examples?
  • Blight clearance
  • Playground and park improvements
  • Benches
  • Bike racks
  • Light post banners
  • Public art
What Neighborhoods are Eligible?
Three areas are eligible for participatory budgeting:
•The "South End": Borders: Niagara Street, 8th Street, Pine Avenue and 4th Street
CD Investments: Walnut Avenue homes, Niagara Orleans-BOCES
•The "North End": Borders: Train track south of Grove Avenue, 9th Street, Beech Avenue, 15th Street
CD Investments: African heritage food co-op
•"Middle Pine": Borders: 24th Street, Ferry Avenue, 17th Street, LaSalle Avenue
CD Investments: Liberty Park playground, summer park programming series
What is the Process?
  • Idea Sessions: June 21-28
PB 360 will host a series of six public idea sessions, two in each target neighborhood, to maximize local public participation. Adults and children alike are encouraged to attend these sessions to provide their ideas and input on what public space improvements they would like to see to create a better sense of place and community in their neighborhoods. Voting will take place at public events and locations throughout the months of July and August.
Exact dates and locations for voting will be announced in late June or early July.
  • Thursday, June 21, 10 a.m. - First Unitarian Universalist Church of Niagara (639 Main St.)
  • Saturday, June 23, 10 a.m. - Cristoforo Columbo Society (2223 Pine Ave.)
  • Monday, June 25, 10 a.m. - Community Health Center of Niagara (2715 Highland Ave.)
  • Tuesday, June 26, 6 p.m. - St. John's AME Church (917 Garden Ave.)
  • Wednesday, June 27, 6 p.m. - First Unitarian Universalist Church of Niagara (639 Main St.)
  • Thursday, June 28, 6 p.m. - Bethany Baptist Church (2002 Forest Ave.)
Voting: July 7 through Aug. 31
The final stage of the participatory budgeting process will see the top eligible ideas for each target neighborhood brought to a direct vote. Community development staff will be on hand at advertised "Summer In Your City" events and other public events in public spaces to take votes from city residents.
Voting will also be available to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays at the Carnegie Building located at 1022 Main St.

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