Residents of Greensboro now have an increased chance to have their voices heard in the municipal government.
Citizens that reside in within the limits of the five Greensboro City Council districts are now able to weigh in on how the city of Greensboro will invest $100,000 in their district. This act is labeled “participatory budgeting.” Participatory budgeting is an excellent way to incorporate the desires of the general public into city plans.
“It’s an opportunity to decide how funding is spent,” said Savanna Thomas, the Out of School Time Coordinator at Greensboro’s Parks and Recreation department. “People want more opportunities to see direct change, and they can vote on the spending of money on projects in their district,” Thomas said.
Until Oct. 31, 2019, residents will be able to vote online or at many in-person sites. Recently, the first voting booth appeared at the N.C. Folk Festival.
Participating residents have to choose one project out of the seven proposals designed for their district. Additionally, the project(s) chosen must add up to an even $100,000 or less. Once voting is over, the most voted for project in each district will receive the $100,000.
“It’s also great because you can see how much money it really takes to see the change happen,” said Thomas.
Over one thousand people voted in a similar setup in 2017, according to city spokeswoman Amanda Lehmert.
The projects being voted on were created by residents earlier this year. One of the projects is a citywide project—a downtown weekend trolley pilot program. If selected, its cost would total $90,000 dollars. However, it must be greenlighted by the voters in all the districts. The trolley service will provide transportation to downtown business, parks and entertainment hotspots such UNC-Greensboro, NC A&T and First National Bank Field.
Some proposals for the districts are as follows:
- District 1: A project at Hampton Park that will cover the addition of playground equipment and the development of a park master plan, totaling $31,000.
- District 2: An art project honoring founder of the Carolina Peacemaker newspaper, the Paul Robeson Theatre and A&T’s Speech and Theatre Arts Department John Kilimanjaro totaling $30,000
- District 3: An upgrade design for the remaining half mile of boardwalk at the Bog Garden, totaling $50,000.
- District 4: Lindley Pool locker room upgrades, including paint jobs and refurbishing the locker rooms, totaling $70,000
- District 5: Griffin Community Park upgrades, including fencing around the pond and plans for adding accessories in the dog park as well as various landscaping plans.