Some Louisville residents can now vote on neighborhood projects
The voting period is open for publicly funded projects in Louisville Districts 6 and 8, which include the California, Park Hill and Highlands neighborhoods.
This is Louisville’s first experiment with participatory budgeting, a process by which citizens help decide how officials spend funds in their neighborhoods. Cities ranging from Chicago to Cambridge, Mass., Use this system.
Residents of Districts 6 and 8 have until March 15 to weigh in on the proposals by voting online or in person. Each district has $ 100,000 of public and private funds to spend on projects ranging from public fountains to improving sidewalks, renovating a playground to improving community centers.
City officials hope that ranking residents among their district’s eight finalists will help choose the best projects to fund, said Aja Barber, project manager for the Center for Health Equity at Louisville Metro. The community submitted more than 400 proposals to the Our Money, Our Voice initiative.
“We asked them what do you need in your neighborhood? ” she said. “How would you like those dollars to be spent in a way that really improves your experience, not only when trying to travel around your neighborhood, but also relating to your other neighbors?” “
Barber said improving access to public places or facilities can encourage people to be more active and lead to better health outcomes.
“There is a direct relationship between investment in neighborhoods, between investment in infrastructure and the collective health of the population,” she said.
Residents of Districts 6 and 8 aged 14 and over can vote in person or online.
Councilor Brandon Coan, who represents District 8, said participatory budgeting is an example of “true direct democracy.”
“In fact, it puts the ability to spend dollars directly into the hands of people,” he said.
In District 6, finalists include improving sidewalks across the district for $ 100,000 and improving the lane near St. Catherine Court for $ 10,000. District 8 projects are also at different scales; citizens could choose to fund radar activated speed limit signs on Speed Avenue for $ 10,000, or improve the intersection of Eastern Parkway and Baxter Avenue for $ 100,000.
Barber said if residents choose the smaller projects, Our Money, Our Voice will fund them on a priority basis until funds run out.
The next in-person voting day for District 6 is February 21 at the California Community Center from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Residents of District 8 can vote in person on February 23 at Centro and McGowan Hall at Bellarmine University from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. More details on voting, including how to register to vote online, are here.