Council Member Amir Farokhi Kicks Off $1 Million “Downtown Decides!” Initiative
City Council Member Amir Farokhi is announcing the launch of Downtown Decides!, a $1 million participatory budgeting (PB) program for transportation infrastructure projects in the portion of Downtown located in Council District 2.
“I couldn’t be more excited to get things underway,” Farokhi said. “Atlanta residents deserve a more direct say in how tax dollars are spent and PB is a proven approach to empower residents and improve communities. The Atlanta Downtown Improvement District and the City have been equally enthusiastic and deserve credit for being all in.”
The project puts $1 million directly in the hands of Downtown residents, students, visitors, and workers. Over the next two months, they will have the opportunity to submit ideas on how to spend the money to improve transportation infrastructure. This includes streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, intersections, lighting, bike lanes, parking spaces, and general use of public space. After the ideas are in, the City will cost out the proposals and create a ballot. In early 2020, a two-week voting period will open for people to choose the projects they want to see implemented.
“PB isn’t a new idea. It’s used the world over from Paris to Madrid, Seattle to Chicago,” Farokhi said. “Atlanta will be the first major city in the south to try it. Ideally, the project is successful and we can push for citywide expansion in next year’s budget. I’m hoping we can commit to being innovative in how we engage and empower residents for years to come.”
Downtown Decides! will be run out of the District 2 Atlanta City Council office in conjunction with Renew Atlanta and ADID. Funding for the project comes from Renew Atlanta/TSPLOST funds specifically designated to the area.
Farokhi believes Downtown Decides! is a leap forward for the city in how it grows citizen participation in local decision making.
“Local government is at its best when it is nimble and accessible. Atlantans know best what their communities need. They should have an active voice in how tax dollars are spent,” Farokhi said. “This effort is an exercise in trust. If we respect the wisdom of residents and trust them to shape the city, residents will, in turn, be more inclined to trust City Hall. This trust, respect, and responsiveness is fundamental to a thriving democracy.”
Farokhi and other project administrators will launch the program Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 11 a.m. at Broad and Luckie Streets. Residents are encouraged to attend the launch and be among the first to get their submissions in!
For more information, visit DowntownATLDecides.com or contact Tony Lucadamo at (404) 713-8807.