Community proposes new dog run, pedestrian plaza

The people of Astoria and Jackson Heights have $1 million to spend and plenty of ideas of how they want to do it.

As part of the city’s participatory budgeting program, residents in Councilman Costa Costantinides’ district have proposed nearly 250 capital projects for funding.

Over the course of four public assemblies held in Astoria and Jackson Heights, community members proposed improvements to Hallets Cove playground, a pedestrian plaza at Newtown and 30th avenues, school upgrades at IS 126, a new dog run under the RFK Bridge, and increased lighting at NYCHA Astoria Houses, among other ideas.

Constantinides said that his constituents have been “extraordinarily engaged” throughout the process.

“Participatory budgeting will allow community members to experience the city budget process on a hands-on basis and learn more about how our government works,” Constantinides said. “Most importantly, community members become more interconnected and have shared their mutual love of their neighborhood.”

In addition to the hundreds of project ideas, over 70 residents volunteered to be budget delegates. They will now turn the list of project ideas into a ballot of several fully formed project ideas, including details and costs.

This spring, the budget delegates will present the final proposals to the community, and residents will vote on which projects they want to see funded. The winning projects will then be submitted to the City Council for approval.

“I am proud that we’ve had such success and I thank everyone who has attended and volunteered,” Constantinides said.

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