The votes are in. After weeks of collecting votes from the public, Greensboro city officials released the total numbers that reveal which participatory budgeting projects would get funded out of the city’s 2020-21 fiscal year budget. Below is a breakdown of the winning projects for each district, which gets $100,000 to spend.
Citywide Project: A downtown weekend trolley pilot program
According to the ballot results, this program will provide a trolley service in downtown on Saturday nights from 6 p.m. to midnight starting in March and going through November. The cost of the pilot program is $90,000, or $18,000 from each of the five districts. The connections will include business, parks and entertainment locations throughout downtown as well as sites like NC A&T University, UNCG and First National Bank Field. The funding is only for one year.
Karen Kixmiller, a budget and evaluation staff member for the city, explains that programmatic funding like the trolley only lasts one year, and after first year, the city has to do an evaluation to see how popular the program was and how much it cost. After that, the city would need to reevaluate the demand and the need of the community to see if it’s something within the city’s budget to make permanent.
District 1: Park improvements
District 1 will split most of its $100,000 among four park upgrades, including improvements to Hampton Park, Old Peck Park, Greentree Park and Steelman Park. A sample of changes include new basketball goals at Greentree; more playground equipment at Hampton; play equipment, benches and picnic tables at Heath; and bike racks at Old Peck. All of the park projects except for Steelman will get the full funding needed for improvements. The district also voted for the installation of a new charging station for cell phones and tablets at Glenwood Public Library.
District 2: Youth training and bus access
Of the five projects that were on the ballot for District 2, a career technical-education youth training program and a bus shelter at the library were the top two vote-getters. The CTE program, which will be held at the McGirt-Horton Branch Library, will take place once a month and could include classes for job interview skills, conflict management and more. The funds will be used to purchase two virtual reality headsets as well as laptop computers. The second-place winner was the installation of a bus shelter near the Chavis Branch Library. Other projects that were funded include a composting program and upgrades to Kings Forest Park.
District 3: Park upgrades
While District 3 overwhelmingly voted for the downtown trolley program, the rest of its votes went to upgrades for Lake Daniel Park as well as new designs for the boardwalk at the Bog Garden. Fisher Park will also get partial funding for new signs and maintenance.
District 4: Tree safety and crosswalks
Most of the votes in District 4 went to addressing concerns about tree safety in Sunset Hills. The first-place project winner includes the removal and replacement of three trees located between Berkley Place and West Market Street. The district also voted for a crosswalk at the intersection of Sunset Hills Park and Market Street that is subject to approval from the state Department of Transportation. Other funded projects include a Chapman Street and Sylvan Road crosswalk and some upgrades to the Lindley Pool locker rooms.
District 5: Basketball and park upgrades
Basketball goals and backboards will be replaced at Random Woods Park thanks to the District 5 voters. Upgrades to Griffin Park were also funded including fencing around the pond, additional landscaping and more features in the dog park. A park mural along the highway retaining wall at Hester Park was also funded by voters but is subject to approval by the state Department of Transportation.