Participatory Budgeting (PBGR) outlines strategy and timetable
Published on October 28, 2021
Community-led budget process invests $2 Million in Grand Rapids neighborhoods
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The City of Grand Rapids allocated $2 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for community proposed projects across all three wards.
A steering committee of residents appointed by the Grand Rapids City Commission is leading the charge. It represents all three wards and has prioritized equity and grassroots organizing with the goal to remove barriers to access in the most under-reached areas of the City.
“PBGR puts real money in the hands of real people to make real choices about how it is invested our neighborhoods,” Adnoris (Bo) Torres, First Ward committee member, said. “More community control over the way funds are spent is crucial to the dynamic transparency that society so authentically wants in our leadership.”
The steering committee includes: (First Ward) Mallory Patterson, Adnoris (Bo) Torres, Michael Scholten; (Second Ward) Doug Booth, Lisa Knight, Cailin Kelly; (Third Ward) Kristian Grant, LaKiya Thompson-Jenkins and Pastor Kenneth Hoskins.
The PBGR process includes three main phases: 1) Outreach & Idea Collection; 2) Proposal Development; 3) Voting & Idea selection. Winning projects will then be submitted to the City Commission for approval. The steering committee is in the first phase now – focused on outreach and education.
The submission portal will be open in mid-November and ideas will be due at the end of January 2022. The committee is responsible for planning and guiding engagement and ideation based on specific ARPA funding priorities including:
- Infrastructure investments related to water, wastewater and broadband
- Evidence-based violence reduction strategies
- Remediation of lead paint or other lead hazards in homes
- Economic and health impacts of COVID-19 (includes assistance to households, small business and nonprofits)
- Incentive pay to front-line workers
- Investments in housing and re-housing
- Addressing educational disparities
- Investing in healthy childhood environments
Project ideas will be reviewed under ARPA guidelines and feasibility of implementation. PBGR is leveraging existing social capital to ensure that outreach strengthens support that is on the ground in community.
“Equitable outcomes are front and center as we build out Participatory Budgeting in Grand Rapids,” Pastor Kenneth Hoskins, Third Ward committee member, said. “At the end of the day, community has the answers for these issues we face in our neighborhoods.”
Lisa Knight, Second Ward committee member added, “With PBGR we have real power to create real outcomes in our city. Since we will collectively vote on the winning projects, the only limit here is what we can imagine and if we participate.”
The steering committee is currently seeking additional volunteers that can assist with outreach, education, voting and project scoping during the process. Eligible participants must live or work in Grand Rapids and be at least 13 years old.
To learn more about the project, the steering committee, or sign up for the newsletter, please visit PBGR.org, facebook.com/PBGrandRapids and twitter.com/PBGrandRapids.