49th Ward Prepares for Upcoming Community Voting
Loyola Neighborhood News: Lake Shore Campus - V3, I7
For the third year in a row, Alderman Joe Moore has continued an innovative and important change in the distribution of aldermanic resources for the 49th Ward. On Saturday, April 28, residents of the 49th Ward are encouraged to participate in the democratic process of Participatory Budgeting.
Alderman Moore defines Participatory Budgeting as “a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making in which ordinary residents decide how to allocate part of a municipal budget.” Each year, every Chicago alderman receives a discretionary budget of $1.3 million for infrastructure improvements in their ward.
For the past three years, Alderman Moore has given this power to his ward residents, allowing community members to vote on the distribution of funding toward various projects. Each year, more than 1,600 members of the 49th Ward vote for the final allocation of this funding, implementing additional street lighting, sidewalk repairs, a dog park, public murals, street resurfacing, and other community needs.
The 2012 process began in September of last year with multiple informational community assemblies throughout the neighborhood. The next phase gathered community representatives, self-elected during the initial community meetings, to develop and review proposals for the spending of the budget for next phase of the process. Community Representatives compiled the suggestions and presented them to the community during the final round of neighborhood assemblies. Finally, on Saturday, April 28, the final proposals will be presented for a ward-wide vote.
Loyola University hosted a community assembly in late February, gathering multiple members of the surrounding community to propose a dune restoration and passive use park at Neil Hartigan Beach on Albion Avenue. The park will create an intimate place that will provide a space for quiet reflection; a place to learn about the natural history of our lakeshore, and how nature thrives.
Community members and neighbors came equipped with many ideas on how to improve the street-end beach, including a suggestion to restore an isolated, unused gravel parking lot that is fenced with barbed wire along Hartigan Beach. Voting on this project would bring this vision to fruition. See below to view a before and after of the proposed project. Click here to view a full PDF rendering of the project design.
For the University, who actively engages in community development projects which are geographically proximate to campus, have a positive and immediate impact on the campus community, is synergistic with the desires of the community and needs of students, faculty and staff.
Alderman Moore has encouraged all residents of Ward 49 over the age of 16 to get involved and vote—after all, Participatory Budgeting is best suited for a ward that can be proactive in the democratic process.
For more information on Participatory Budgeting, contact the 49th Ward Service Office at 773-338-5796, or visit participatorybudgeting49.wordpress.com.