flatbush haitian community
Shoppers stroll down Flatbush Avenue, a main thoroughfare in District 40, one of 14 City Council districts partaking in participatory budgeting. Photo by Sam Bojarski

BROOKLYN — One idea is for a community food kitchen at Newkirk and Coney Island avenues. Another calls for a subway mural to be painted at the Parkside Avenue Q train station. A third calls for stormwater infrastructure, to build flood resilience. 

In all, more than 45 proposals for infrastructure improvements have been submitted by Council District 40 residents through participatory budgeting, a process by which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. Each participating council member receives $1 million to allocate to infrastructure projects, costing at least $50,000 and that will last five years or more. 

District 40 is among 14 council districts, out of 51 total, participating in the current fiscal year’s participatory budget cycle. According to the city’s Civic Engagement Commission (CEC), the first phase, idea collection, began in fall 2021 and ends Jan. 23.

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Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America corps member. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at sam@haitiantimes.com or on Twitter @sambojarski.