Brooklyn’s community boards are the place to be this year, with a surge in applications for the coveted spots.
More than 1,200 local residents have applied to join one the borough’s 18 boards, Brooklyn Paper reports, with the most popular boards falling in northern neighborhoods.
Williamsburg’s Community Board 1, Downtown Brooklyn and Clinton Hill’s Community Board and Bed-Stuy’s Community Board 3 have attracted more than 100 applications each over the past year – more than any year since 2017.
“It’s truly because of virtual [meetings]. Now they’re more engaged,” Community Board 3 District Manager and City Council candidate Henry Butler told Brooklyn Paper. “Now people sitting at home have the opportunity to join community board meetings.”
Butler said the board posts links to the WebEx meetings on its Facebook page, along with links to other meetings focused on community issues, which gives people ability to watch meetings live or a recorded version.
He added he would like meetings to stay online indefinitely to increase accessibility. “People worked. They had kids; they didn’t have time to physically come to a meeting.”
Brooklyn’s community boards are made up of 50 non-salaried members who issue recommendations and advice to elected officials and government agencies on issues that affect the welfare of the district. They can include anything from education, land use and zoning, permits, community concerns and more.
The borough president receives all the applications and makes the appointments to the borough’s community boards. Borough President Eric Adams told Brooklyn Paper he encouraged Brooklynites to apply to their community boards, with applications accepted on a rolling basis.
“The upward trend in applications to our community boards is a promising sign, and is thanks in part to steps our office has taken over the years to promote civic engagement, including opening up community board slots to Brooklynites as young as 16 years old, streamlining the application process, and working with BetaNYC to help community boards transition to virtual meetings during the pandemic,” he said.
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