Posted 10 months ago on May 17, 2013, 3:53 p.m. EST by GirlFriday
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This is the third installment of “Direct Democracy in Chicago's 5th Ward,” a 5-part series following the participatory voting process in the 5th ward. This series is supported by a grant from the Local Reporting Initiative of the Chicago Community Trust. Read the first and second parts of the series here and here.
“I’ve been around here forever,” says Candace White, standing outside of Gary Comer College Prep in Chicago’s Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood. “And we’ve never been allowed to vote on how the money is spent.”
Until now, that is. White is visibly happy, having just voted for her six favorite projects as part of the 5th ward’s participatory budgeting program (PB5). This year, for the first time, ward residents have had the opportunity to decide how their alderman’s “menu money”—up to $1.3 million for small infrastructure projects—will be spent. Since last fall, volunteer community representatives have whittled down over one hundred ideas to 13 specific, feasible projects, which run the gamut from public murals to sidewalk repairs.