Shower trucks to wider sidewalks: It’s time to vote on $2 million worth of projects

Denver’s first participatory budgeting project has begun – and has nothing to do with the regular election cycle.

A machine that presses Roosevelt's face into blank dimes at the U.S. Mint.

A machine that presses Roosevelt's face into blank dimes at the U.S. Mint.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
KEVIN-lighter

Denver has been ramping up for a new kind of election, the city’s first participatory budgeting project, in which you – YES YOU – get to decide how we should collectively spend a couple million bucks.

Project stakeholders first went out and asked a bunch of people what they’d like to see up for a vote. Then, a group of community delegates narrowed things down to a final list. There’s $1 million in a city-wide fund, which any resident can vote on.

There’s also $400,000 dedicated just for residents of Montbello and Green Valley Ranch, another $300,000 for residents of East Colfax, Montclair, Hale and South Park Hill and another $300,000 for residents of City Park, City Park West, Congress Park, Cheesman Park, Capitol Hill and North Capitol Hill.

(Don’t know which neighborhood you live in? Check out this map!)

Right now, the city is just using the honor system on this stuff. You have to click a box to “promise” you live in Denver and/or eligible neighborhoods and that you’ve only voted once.

Kiki Turner, who works in the Denver Department of Finance and has been shepherding this process, told us her community steering committee decided this was the best way to go.

“Their real goal, and the city’s goal, is to create a more inclusive civic engagement process that is representative of Denver’s diverse residents. including undocumented residents, unhoused residents, youth, etc.,” she wrote us. “The Committee feared that requiring an ID or even an address or piece of mail would create resistance or fear from our more vulnerable community members. So we landed on just a self-attestation.”

The polls are now open. You have until Nov. 20 to vote. Vote once and don’t lie about where you live.

Here’s what anyone can vote for:

Click here for the city-wide ballot! You get to pick as many of these things that will use up $1 million.

  1. $225,000 for more shower trailers for Safe Outdoor Sites.
  2. $100,000 for water fountains in northwest parks that lack public water
  3. $300,000 for more trees, trash cans and permanent chess boards for parks in Five Points and Whittier.
  4. $200,000 for up to five new tiny homes that the Colorado Village Collaborative can use to house people without houses.
  5. $400,000 for wider sidewalks around Denver Housing Authority’s Walsh Manor, a facility for older adults and people with disabilities in Ruby Hill, which currently has sidewalks too narrow for wheelchairs and scooters.
  6. $200,000 for outdoor fitness equipment in Montbello’s Village Place Park.
  7. $150,000 for better signals that will help visually impaired residents cross streets in neighborhoods like Globeville, Chaffee Park, and Washington Virginia Vale.
  8. $175,000 for community gardens near subsidized housing in Baker, City Park West and Valverde.

Here’s what Montbello and Green Valley Ranch residents can vote for:

Click here for the far northeast ballot! You get to pick as many of these things that will use up $400,000.

  1. $25,000 for new trash cans in Montbello and GVR parks.
  2. $300,000 for new benches in parks and at bus stops.
  3. $200,000 for a new volleyball court at Falcon Park.
  4. $350,000 for new and better lighting at a whole bunch of parks.
  5. $400,000 for accessible playground equipment in two parks, which will let kids in wheelchairs swing.

Here’s what East Colfax, Montclair, Hale and South Park Hill residents can vote for:

Click here for the east Denver ballot! You get to pick as many of these things that will use up $300,000.

  1. $300,000 to improve sidewalks along East Colfax Avenue.
  2. $300,000 for new trees, water fountains, grills and shade structures at New Freedom Park.
  3. $300,000 to improve bikeways around East 12th Avenue and Quebec Street in the East Colfax neighborhood, to make them safer.
  4. $300,000 for new water fountains at New Freedom Park, Verbena Park, and McNichols Park.
  5. $300,000 for traffic calming in East Colfax between Quebec Street to Yosemite Street.

Here’s what City Park, City Park West, Congress Park, Cheesman Park, Capitol Hill and North Capitol Hill residents can vote for:

Click here for the “central east” ballot! You get to pick as many of these things that will use up $300,000.

  1. $175,000 for better crossing infrastructure around Morey Middle School, along Emerson Street from 12th to 14th Avenues.
  2. $300,000 to extend protected bike lanes on 13th Avenue, from Grant to Lincoln Streets, and along 14th Avenue, from Bannock to Grant Streets.
  3. $100,000 to add benches and better paved pathways between City Park bus stops and attractions within the park.
  4. $300,000 to improve the Sherman Street bikeway between 7th and 14th Avenues, including “a pedestrian island at 11th Avenue, a traffic circle at 10th Avenue and a flashing crossing beacon at 8th Avenue.”
  5. $100,000 for paved paths on the north side of Cheesman Park, which would replace gravel paths and make it easier for people with limited mobility to get into the park from nearby bus stops.

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Denverite members have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.