The ballots are cast, the votes are counted, and the people have spoken. Attached below are the results of the 2011 Participatory Budgeting Election in the 49th Ward:
Aproximately 1,000 residents of our community cast ballots in this historic election to vote on how to spend the 49th Ward’s 2011 capital improvement budget. The voters decided that slightly over half of this year’s budget should be devoted to street resurfacing. For the remaining portion of the budget, the voters selected a wide range of proposals, including safety improvements to the Ridge, Touhy, Rogers intersection; new bike lanes and bike racks; upgrades to several Metra viaducts; and improvements to our parks.
When I launched the 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting process two years ago, I had high expectations for our very special neighborhood. The 49th Ward has a proud history of civic engagement, and I knew my constituents would embrace this process.
But this and last year’s Participatory Budgeting elections exceeded even my wildest dreams. They were more than elections. They were community celebrations and an affirmation that people will participate in the civic affairs of their community if given real power to make real decisions.
This was a people-powered process from beginning to end. From the initial planning stages to its final implementation, the process was driven by scores of community volunteers. I extend my deepest gratitude to the members of the 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting Leadership Committee and the 49th Ward residents who volunteered countless hours as “Community Representatives.” I especially want to acknowledge 49th Ward resident Sarah Lisy who chaired the Leadership Committee and devoted countless volunteer hours to ensuring the success of our initiative. She is a neighborhood treasure.
And kudos to my 49th Ward Service Office staff–especially Luis Klein, Betsy Vandercook and Wayne Frazier–who worked long hours to support the work of the Leadership Committee and community representatives, and Josh Lerner of the Participatory Budgeting Project for his guidance and ongoing support.
Finally, and most importantly, my thanks to the residents of the 49th Ward who voted in this historic election and took democracy into their own hands. I’m proud to represent this amazing community.