Thursday, April 30, 2015

Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Green Roof Wins $500 Hundred Thousand In NYC Participatory Budget Voting Announces NYC Council Member Ben Kallos

Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 Green Roof proposal

was a winner of the Manhattan NYC Council District 5 Participatory Budget Vote announced NYC Council Member Ben Kallos today. According to Mr. Kallos:
The results are in for participatory budgeting!

Thank you to over 2,000 of you who voted in participatory budgeting and decided on how to spend $1 million in our community. In the schools, parks, public housing, libraries, neighborhood centers and mobile locations across the district, as well as my office.

Over the course of 10 days, 2,140 of you turned out to vote a total for a total of 6,963 votes. I am pleased to announce the top vote getters for the $1,000,000 were green roofs for PS/IS 217 and PS 151. Both projects will cost more than the $500,000 that each won this year and may be back on the ballot next year or until they are fully funded.

There were many other worthy projects, and additional funding decisions will be made by July. Congratulations to the winners and all who participated! So you can learn more and better organize for next year, we are releasing vote totals and paper ballot results by project and poll site, and have profiles of the winners at PS 151 and PS/IS 217.

If you have thoughts on the participatory budgeting process or interest in becoming more involved next cycle, please sign up. We would like to hear from you, and are already looking forward to next year!
PS/IS 217, a unique international school on Roosevelt Island serving pre-k through eighth grade, wanted additional outdoor space and an educational green roof for their 543 students. Roosevelt Island is a tight-knit and highly-engaged community, so they mobilized together.

The PS/IS 217 PTA, Girl Scouts troops 3001 and 3244, Roosevelt Island Garden Club, Roosevelt Island Parents' Network and Sharon Bermon from the NYPL Roosevelt Island Branch were just a few of the community members who came together to support the students.

Principal Mandana Beckman acknowledged the community efforts, saying " It truly does take a village and we have a great one here on Roosevelt Island.The Principal explained:

"Our PTA co-presidents used the 217 PTA website parent blog to deliver frequent messages about the project and the voting process. Flyers, memos, even bookmarks were printed as reminders and sources of information. The Main Street Wire and the Roosevelt Islander blog, featured several articles on the Green Roof and voting information. RI Residents Association (RIRA) discussed the process and the project in their regular news Wire column. Nearly every business, club, group or organization, participated in spreading the word about the project and the opportunity to vote. Flyers were also published and distributed on the Upper East Side and Midtown East to explain and support this project on New York’s other Island. RI’s Earth Day Celebration drew in a large voting crowd on one of the ballot days. City Council Member Ben Kallos and his teams came out to the Island to meet with the community to talk about the project and encourage voters to participate."

"217PTA was thrilled to have the opportunity to engage our parents and students in Council member Ben Kallos’ Participatory Budget process," said PTA co-presidents Olga Shchuchinov and Natalia Starkova.

"The green roof will serve as a great educational resource for the community." Ali Schwayri, President of the Roosevelt Island Garden Club, said, "We believe in the benefits of the Green Roof for our community, and I speak for secretary, Julia Ferguson, and the entire membership, when I say we all look forward to sharing our expertise and passion."

Eva Bosbach, the Founder of the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network, and Jeff Escobar, President of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association both also noted how excited they were to support the projects. Community member Sharon Bermon said, "Dozens of individuals and organizations worked together to increase awareness of the Participatory Balloting process and to convince people to take the time to vote."

Local girl scouts on the Island also poured their energy into the project. Their troop leaders, Janine Schaefer of troup 3244 and Aiesha Eleusizov, leader of troup 3001, said:

"Girl Scout Troops 3001 and 3244 dedicated countless hours at the subway, in front of the school, at our community's Earth Day event and simply walking down the street passing out bookmarks about the community projects, meeting with constituents at our local Expo, drawing pictures about the Green Roof, making and posting on social media a YouTube video to encourage voting, and simply spreading the word to encourage Roosevelt Island residents to exercise their right to vote for the Green Roof project at PS/IS 217...This has been an excellent opportunity for our youth to learn first hand the power of the vote, the community and working hard to achieve your dreams."

Council Member Kallos did multiple mobile sessions on Roosevelt Island, as he did at dozens of locations across the district.

Congratulations, PS/IS 217!
The PS/IS 217 Green Roof received the most votes with 845. Roosevelt Island's other Participatory Budget project, Study of Sight and Sound at the Public Library (seeking $35,000) received 741 votes for third place, not enough to be funded. Here are the vote totals.

Image From Ben Kallos

Roosevelt Island Brownie Girl Scout Troop 3001 likes the idea

 of a PS/IS 217 Green Roof