FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2019
PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING FUNDS FOR UPTOWN AND MIDTOWN:
Youth Development and Kingston Beautification Program
KINGSTON, NY – For the 2018 Participatory Budgeting, both Midtown and Uptown Kingston voted to allocate each of their $15,000 in funding toward implementing beautification in their neighborhoods through youth programming. The vision has now been realized with Beautifying and Restoring Kingston (BARK), which will be run by the YMCA Farm Project team, and will employ teens to work on beautification projects in Uptown and Midtown. BARK, whose name was conceived and chosen by the teens themselves, will run three seasonal crews: Spring (April 15-June 27), Summer (July 1-August 30) & Fall (September 1-November 1), and will rotate its team members. Orientation has begun for the first crew, which includes ten students from Kingston High School.
Starting April 15, the first crew will be working in Midtown on Mondays from 2:30-6:30pm. Projects will include planting flowers along Pine Grove esplanade, painting utility boxes, and renewing Van Buren Park. Their “Trash Club Kingston” will also do litter sweeps every Monday led by Stephen Kennedy from Turn Up the Beet. On Thursdays, the crew will work in Uptown from 2:30-5:30pm. Project ideas, with help from KUBA members, include maintaining 22 planters in Uptown and remediating the bioswales on North Front Street. The crew will also be participating in Clean Sweep on May 4. BARK will be training with Hudson Valley Bee Habitat and KAN Landscape Design to incorporate good design practices and native pollinator habitat installations at some of our project sites.
“I am so pleased that the YMCA Farm Project was able to get this program up and running so quickly, and was able to engage teenagers who are eager to help make our City more beautiful and sustainable,” said Mayor Steve Noble. “These teens will be role models for the next generation of Kingston residents about how to care for and maintain the beauty of our city.”
Education Director Susan Hereth, Youth Advocate Siobhan DuPont, and KayCee Wimbish, the Project Director of the YMCA Farm Project, are giving their time as an in-kind service so that all City of Kingston Participatory Budgeting Funds will go to paying youth and the project site materials and supplies.
"The youth participants in BARK are excited to gain job experience through positive work in their City,” said Susan Hereth, Education Director at the YMCA Farm Project. “This opportunity from the Participatory Budgeting process to train and employ local teens to take action in their community is a wonderful chance to empower youth, team build, and invest in the future. We are thrilled to guide the teens in beautifying the City of Kingston this year."
Participatory Budgeting is a process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. For the pilot project, $15,000 was set aside for improvements or projects in each business district (Uptown, Midtown and Downtown), for a total investment of $45,000. These funds were generated by revenue received from off-street parking fees. The Mayor has set aside $20,000 for each district in the 2019 Adopted budget towards another round of Participatory Budgeting.