ROCKLAND — Five organizations are the beneficiaries of $30,000 in federal money which was decided on by ballots cast by citizens.
The Rockland Rotary Club’s construction of an Inclusive Playground for children and adults of all abilities at MacDougal Park won the plurality of votes for the $10,000 award. The project received 64 votes.
Receiving $5,000 each are Trekkers, Restorative Justice Project Maine, OUT Maine, and Rockland Community Fruit Trees.
There were 335 ballots cast.
The money awards are a result of the city’s first attempt at participatory budgeting.
The ballots were counted Monday afternoon Oct. 3 on how to spend $30,000 of American Rescue Plan Act money, on projects proposed by members of the community. Rockland received $756,737 from federal municipal ARPA funds, and in December 2021 the City Council voted to set aside $30,000 of those funds to use in projects proposed and approved by citizens.
The Inclusive Playground at the MacDougal Park received 64 votes and will get the $10,000 award.
Finishing second was the heating assistance program with 49 votes. The skate park received 47 votes and the waterfront to wilderness trial 46 votes. Others that received votes were the Landing Place 36, sidewalks 28, the backpack project 17, the Friends Recovery House 12, and the Coastal Children’s Museum four votes.
Participatory Budget Committee member Greg Marley said it is always a good idea to invite the public to lend their voice for support in decision making.
Trekkers offers youth mentoring and leadership training through outdoor, experiential and travel-based education.
The Community plant, fruit and nut trees will be planted on public property with the harvest to fight food insecurity.
Restorative Justice Project Maine implements strategies for improving community safety and belonging while reducing substance-use-related crimes.
OUT Maine funds local training for community provider professionals on Building Welcoming and Inclusive Communities for LGBTQ+ youth.
Community voting took place from Thursday, Sept. 15 through Thursday, Sept. 22. Votes were cast online at rocklandmaine.gov/rebound, and via paper ballots at City Hall and in the Rockland Public Library. Rockland residents age 12 and up were able to cast a ballot, voting for one proposal in the $10,000 category, and for up to four proposals in the $5,000 category.
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