District 2 City Council member Amir Farokhi announced the launch of his “Candler Park Decides!” participatory budgeting (PB) pilot program.
All through the month of April, residents will have the chance to go to CandlerParkDecides.com and submit their best ideas on how to improve the Candler Park neighborhood using public dollars.
“I could not be more excited to get this new initiative off the ground,” Farokhi said. “PB is an opportunity for residents to directly determine how tax dollars are spent for the benefit of their community. It’s a catalyst for restoring trust in government.”
Through the program, residents propose ideas and then later vote for their favorite submissions. The only restrictions: It has to come in under the program’s $45,000 budget, and submissions must impact arts and culture or parks and greenspace in the area.
The Candler Park undertaking is the sequel to Downtown Decides!, a $1 million transportation-focused PB pilot launched by the District 2 office in 2019. That program has been a major success.
Over 3,000 Atlantans took part. Seventeen projects were selected from a list of 34 proposals. Thus far, seven have been completed with the remaining 10 in various stages of implementation.
“Our PB work Downtown has really succeeded my expectations, both in terms of the level of participation and how quickly we’ve been able to deliver completed projects,” Farokhi said. “Hopefully we can build momentum from our work there as we embark on this new effort in
Candler Park. We’ve pivoted this time to focus on arts as well as parks and greenspace. That leaves a lot of room for creativity. I’m intrigued to see what kinds of ideas people come up with this time around.”
Farokhi hopes that these successive programs light the way for future growth.
“Ultimately, I would like to see this expanded citywide and have it be something we have as a fixed portion of our annual budget. But for now the focus is on delivering in Downtown and now Candler Park – to show people that PB works and can be scaled. Major cities the world over are embracing this model. I want Atlanta to stand at the forefront of progressive, innovative thinking, not only in the American South but globally. Embracing initiatives like this is part of that broader vision.”