Forty-five projects selected for initial King County participatory budgeting awards
During King County’s first Participatory Budgeting vote, community members cast more than 2,600 ballots and chose 45 projects that King County will fund in East Federal Way, East Renton, Fairwood, Skyway, and White Center.
More than 2,600 ballots were cast by community members to select 45 projects that King County will fund as part of its first participatory budgeting process. Residents voted —online and on paper—earlier this month, and the winning projects were announced during a ceremony today in Skyway.
The vote marks the high point of this community-driven journey, which began in King County a little more than a year ago, when King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed a budgeting process that would empower the following urban unincorporated areas:
- East Federal Way
- East Renton
- White Center
King County Local Services and its community partner, the Community Investment Budget Committee, established the parameters of the program, collected and evaluated project ideas submitted by community members, and held a vote to decide which projects should receive funding. More than 60 community members contributed their time and ideas to the process. Each of the areas selected its own winning projects.
"These investments are proposed, evaluated, and decided by the people closest to the communities they will serve. Participatory budgeting is a demonstration of the power of community, and the culmination of hard work of dozens of volunteers and grassroots leaders over the last year," said Executive Constantine. "This program shows the way forward for community-led investments to upend historical and racial inequities and continue making King County a place where every person can thrive."
East Federal Way
- Lake Geneva Park Upgrades “Let’s Play” ($1.5 million)
- Community Garden/P Patch Fund ($100,000)
- Utility Box – Art Murals ($35,000)
- Revive our Basketball Court at Maplewood Park ($100,000)
- Home Repair Fund ($100,000)
- Cemetery Pond: Acquisition – Critical Green Infrastructure ($50,000)
- Cemetery Pond and Wetland: Upgrade Public Access and Amenities ($35,000)
- Splash Pad/Cooling Center at Petrovitsky Park ($720,000)
- Strolling Safe on 57th Avenue S ($1.4 million)
- Campbell Hill – Community Track ($750,000)
- Street Beautification – Skyway Business District ($500,000)
- Grocery Outlet – Outdoor Community Space Upgrades ($250,000)
- Welcome Home – Down Payment Assistance ($250,000)
- Where is My Bus? – Metro Bus Stop Upgrades ($250,000)
- Redevelopment of Cynthia A. Green ($200,000)
- Hewet Skyway – Community Garden ($100,000)
- Community Garden Fund ($100,000)
- Rahwa Ogbe Habte – Memorial Project ($50,000)
- Utility Box – Cultural Art Mural Projects ($50,000)
Skyway/West Hill (Funded by Marijuana Tax Revenue)
- Grant Program – Youth and Education Programs and Services ($280,000)
- West Hill Community Association – Capacity Building ($150,000)
- Acts on Stage – Summer Youth Theater program ($50,000)
- Green STEM apprenticeship program ($50,000)
- Refining Impact – Mobile Food Bank ($50,000)
- We.App – Speak with Purpose ($35,000)
- Double Dutch Divas ($30,000)
- Beyond High Schools – College Tours ($25,000)
- Rainier Avenue Radio Apprenticeship Program ($25,000)
- Skyway Business Revitalization Project ($25,000)
- Colorful Communities Parent Support in Schools ($20,000)
- Skyway Arts Commission ($20,000)
- Art in the Park ($15,000)
- Shine Nail Lab – Nail Art Workshops ($15,000)
- So Fresh, So Clean! – Laundromat Fund ($10,000)
White Center/North Highline
- White Center Food Bank “New Location Renovation Fund” ($875,000)
- White Center Community HUB “Construction Fund” ($750,000)
- Khmer Community Temple Support ($750,000)
- Spray Park/Outdoor Cooking Center; Cool Me Down – White Center ($725,000)
White Center/North Highline (Funded by Marijuana Tax Revenue)
- Gifts of Hope ($175,000)
- Neplanta Cultural Art Programming ($150,000)
- Acts on Stage – Programming ($75,000)
- Green Education – New Start ($66,000)
- Mental Health – Grief Support ($32,500)
- White Center Heights Elementary School – Family Resource Center ($25,000)
- Wolverine Select – Funding ($16,500)
MORE ON PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING
In 2021, the King County Council approved Executive Constantine’s new approach to community investment—one that’s centered on racial equity. It gives people who live, work, play, or worship in the county’s five urban unincorporated areas the chance to directly choose how more than $11 million is spent in their communities.
Participatory budgeting allows communities to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending. Residents help decide how to spend money on capital projects (physical things that are bought, built, installed, or fixed up) or programs and services.
The funds for the capital projects are backed by bonds. The funds for programs and services in North Highline/White Center and Skyway-West Hill come from King County’s general fund and are supported by marijuana retail sales tax revenue.
The Community Investment Budget Committee, a group of residents from King County’s urban unincorporated areas, met virtually to create the framework for the new participatory budgeting process.
The Committee then asked the public to submit ideas for projects that voters would choose to receive funding. The program then identified 40 community volunteers committed to serving as “Proposal Advocates” to help build selected ideas into detailed proposals that listed on the ballot for community vote.
The work, planning and community building culminated earlier this month with a public vote that was open to anyone 12 years or older who lived, worked, went to school or worshipped in any of the five areas. Local Services staff, CIBC members and Proposal Advocates canvassed all five areas, from National Night Out celebrations to community festivals to grocery stores.
“We did it! We completed our first-ever Participatory Budgeting process, and in the end, residents of different backgrounds used this opportunity to help shape improvements in their neighborhoods,” Participatory Budgeting Program Manager Gloria Briggs said. “I could not be prouder of our team, especially our CIBC members who met regularly over Zoom to give voice to the people. It wasn’t easy, but in a short amount of time, we worked collaboratively and passionately to create something that will have a lasting impact in our communities. Today is a day that we should all celebrate!”
- King County Executive Dow Constantine: "These investments are proposed, evaluated, and decided by the people closest to the communities they will serve. Participatory budgeting is a demonstration of the power of community, and the culmination of hard work of dozens of volunteers and grassroots leaders over the last year. This program shows the way forward for community-led investments to upend historical and racial inequities and continue making King County a place where every person can thrive."
- King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay: "Participatory Budgeting is a system we put in place to make sure people who usually have the least access to the budgeting process have a direct say in how funds are spent in their community. I’m excited to see the community’s vision come to life and even more excited to improve this process and make it a staple for how we do things in King County."
- Local Services Director John Taylor: "The fact that we’re here today, announcing the winning projects of King County’s first participatory budgeting vote, is a testament to how invested the community was in this process. The county committed to empowering communities that have been historically underserved. They drove the process with our support. It wasn’t always easy. But this vote shows the kind of success that’s possible when local government works collaboratively with the communities it serves."
- Participatory Budgeting Manager Gloria Briggs: "We did it! We completed our first-ever participatory budgeting process, and in the end, residents of different backgrounds used this opportunity to help shape improvements in their neighborhoods. I could not be prouder of our team, especially our Community Investment Budget Committee members who met regularly over Zoom to give voices to the people – all people. It wasn’t easy, but in a short amount of time, we worked collaboratively and passionately to create something that will have a lasting impact in our communities."
- Ayanna Brown, Skyway/West Hill Co-Chair, Community Investment Budget Committee: "Being a committee member and doing the work for the participatory budgeting process was one of the most educational, hardest, maddening, tiring, liberating, and satisfying experiences I have ever had. All of my emotions were utilized. I have laughed, and I have cried. I have wanted to fight, and I have wanted to party. But it was all worth it for my beloved Skyway. And the most rewarding piece for me were the bonds I made with my fellow committee members. Some became friends. Some became family. I came on board to help the community of Skyway win something big, but I ended up being a winner because of them. All in all, the experience was amazing, and I'm blessed to have witnessed and been part of it."
- King County to residents of its urban unincorporated areas: Help us decide how to spend $10 million in your neighborhoods
- Community Investment Budget Committee creates framework for participatory budgeting process, divides funds among five urban unincorporated areas
- “The People’s Budget - Your Voice, Your Choice”: Public can now submit ideas for how to spend public funds in urban unincorporated areas
- It’s time to vote for improvements that will come to your neighborhood
Brent Champaco, 206-477-9094, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Note: This was cross-posted from Executive news)