In our January/February print edition, we told you about a first-of-its-kind participatory budgeting program in Cambridge that will allow residents to decide how the city spends $500,000 in capital funds. Area citizens submitted their project proposals for the funds back in December, and ideas ranged from artsy (“commission up to $150,000 in public art for Cambridge artists”) to tech-savvy (free wifi for all public housing) to pet-friendly (“more enclosed off-leash dog parks“).
In total, more than 380 community-building ideas were submitted. Budget delegates have split the submissions into four categories:
- Culture & Community Facilities
- Environment, Public Health & Public Safety
- Parks & Recreation
- Streets & Sidewalks
and have formed committees that correspond to these subgroups to develop concrete project proposals from your ideas. These volunteers are looking at each proposal for the funds based on a set of criteria that includes community need, project need, impact and feasibility. By mid-March, each committee will submit five finalized project proposals for a ballot, and from March 22-28, Cambridge citizens will have the opportunity to vote to determine which proposals they’d like to see in action.
Voting is open to anyone in Cambridge 12 and older—meaning that even some of the youngest among us get a chance to make a difference in their city—and you can pledge your vote and find more information about upcoming polling times and locations here. Questions? Check out an awesome video about the participatory budgeting program from the City of Cambridge below: