Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Seven projects will receive funding following Evanston’s Participatory Budgeting voting

The+voting+process+collected+6%2C565+votes%2C+which+is+approximately+8.5%25+of+Evanston%E2%80%99s+population.
Megija Medne/The Daily Northwestern
The voting process collected 6,565 votes, which is approximately 8.5% of Evanston’s population.

After a monthlong participatory budgeting voting process, Evanston announced winning projects Friday. Evanston residents chose seven proposals that will receive $3 million in funding. 

The participatory budgeting process was introduced last year following City Council’s decision to allocate American Rescue Plan Act funds to the project. Anyone with a “meaningful connection” to Evanston could develop a proposal and participate in voting, ensuring that the community would decide “how to spend a part of the City budget.”

The voting process collected 6,565 votes, the city said – approximately 8.5% of Evanston’s population. Here are the seven projects that will receive funding:

First place: Mental Health First Aid Training

Of the winners, the Mental Health First Aid Training proposal secured first place with 3,400 votes. Asking for $50,000 in funding, the proposal seeks to provide mental health training to public service employees in schools, fire and police stations, community centers and libraries. 

According to the proposal’s poster, which is available on Evanston’s PB website along with other posters, “through this training, public service employees will be better equipped to respond to mental health challenges with greater care, knowledge and experience.” 

Second place: Education grants and incentives

The proposal aims to provide grants and incentives for activities and education and will support marginalized students in grades three through 12, financed by $700,000 in participatory budgeting funds. 

The project seeks to address issues of students struggling to meet educational benchmarks, according to the proposal’s poster.

Third place: Evanston Urban Farm

With 3,014 votes, Evanston Urban Farm’s proposal secured third place. The proposal aims to create a sustainable urban farm that will provide the community with fruit, vegetables and nut-tree orchards. 

“It’s an urban farm that would be run by Evanston Grows and it would be a one-acre farm in Evanston,” said Susan Treacy, a representative of the Urban Farm proposal. “And food would be donated to people in need.”

Treacy said she believes food insecurity is an important issue in Evanston. She said the Urban Farm will provide healthy food and educate people about farming and sustainability through internships, gardening classes, field trips, volunteering opportunities and community events that will be provided to Evanstonians.

Fourth and fifth place: Affordable Housing proposals

The Affordable Housing Subsidy proposal received 2,918 votes, earning it the fourth position, and the Affordable Refugee Housing proposal, with 2,890 votes, took the fifth spot. 

Asking for $810,000 and $645,000 respectively, proposals sought to provide affordable housing to local residents and migrants.

“(The) Affordable Refugee Housing proposal is centered around the new migrants, the influx of migrants coming into this country,” said Thony Daye, a representative of a proposal. “As you have seen in the news, a lot of them are sleeping in the police stations and under the bridges. It is not safe for them.”

Daye said his main goal is to move people from shelters to permanent housing. Funding will provide support for 10 to 15 families, he said. 

Sixth place: Youth and Young Adult Drop-In Center

The Youth and Young Adult Drop-In Center received 2,692 votes, making it the sixth proposal to receive funding. The proposal will receive $210,000 to create a welcoming and safe space for Evanston’s pre-teens, teens and young adults.

“Our proposal is to have a youth drop-in center to bring us closer together and to have somewhere where teenagers could go instead of Robert Crown,” said Tyshawn Ivy, a representative of Youth and Young Adult Drop-in Center. 

According to the Evanston PB website, “the proposal will make improvements to the drop-in center, which will include a fully equipped and functioning studio and kitchen, as well as provide funding for programming, team building, and mental and physical health retreats, all decided by the Youth & Young Adult Committee and co-sponsor the NAACP Evanston Branch Youth Council.”

Seventh place: Small Business Grants

Last but not least, with 2,095 votes, the Small Business Grants proposal will receive $150,000. 

The money will be available to 10 small businesses with less than 50 employees. Eligible businesses will be able to apply on the city’s website, according to the Small Business Grants’ poster.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @_megija

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