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Putting Budget Power in Community Hands

The High Line created the ¡Arriba! party in response to neighbors’ feedback. Credit: Rowa Lee, The High Line.

The High Line is backing up a commitment to equity with their checkbook: Their Neighbors Council has decision-making power over a portion of the High Line’s budget. Fifteen Council members, people who live and work in the Manhattan neighborhoods the 1.5-mile greenway traverses, receive a stipend for their participation on the Council, which meets monthly. Through the Council, the High Line is able to develop and strengthen connections with community members and to elicit Council member input and ideas to better serve neighbors, small businesses, and other West Side stakeholders. One way the High Line leverages the ideas and input of the Council is through the “Neighbor to Neighbor Fund”, an annual visioning process that helps elevate issues impacting the local community. Once an issue has been identified, the High Line then directs financial resources to addressing it. By engaging Council members as co-designers, the High Line wants to empower them to hold it accountable to its promise to link “individuals and communities to the social, environmental, cultural, and economic resources on and off the High Line.”

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