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Mayor Walsh announces results of the Nation's First-Ever Youth Participatory budgeting Initiative

Last week, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the winning projects of the ‘Youth Lead the Change’, participatory budget initiative. Young people from across the City were instructed, by the Mayor’s Youth Council and other supportive partners, how to create guidelines from the voting process, and develop a ballot, which included 14 projects.

Voting polls were stationed at local train stations, youth centers, and school buildings slated for a city-wide vote, and youth determined how to spend $1 million of Boston's capital budget. Over 1,500 eligible votes came in from Boston residents between the ages of 12 and 25.

“I was extremely impressed by the projects that made it onto the ballot,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “The winning projects will make positive and meaningful change in the lives of Boston residents throughout the City. The City budget is not taken lightly, and these young people were dedicated and passionate, becoming a driving force in the way our community process is run. This is only the beginning, and I look forward to seeing all of the great things our young Boston leaders have lined up for the future.”

Voters were able to select up to four projects on the ballot. Projects were divided into the following categories:

  • Streets and Safety
  • Parks/Environment/Health
  • Community and Culture
  • Education

“This process engaged youth throughout the City to develop proposals that will offer great benefits to communities across Boston,” said Chief of Health and Human Services, Felix Arroyo. “The voices of our youth were heard, and I am really excited to see more change agents get involved with Youth Lead the Change.”

“Youth Lead the Change is a community process making way for a new form of democracy that young people can take part in, celebrate, and see real change as the result,” said Shari Davis, Executive Director of Youth Engagement and Employment.  

The winning projects included:

Franklin Park Playground and Picnic Area Upgrade

This project will include infrastructure upgrades and repairs to the American Legion Picnic Grove playground to better serve children with disabilities. Renovations will include the following: 1) installation of exercise equipment for park goers of all ages (pending community and landmark approvals), 2) swings, modern slides, monkey bars, a jungle gym and go-green exercise equipment, 3) benches positioned closer to play area; parents will be able to monitor children, and 4) the resurfacing of playground foundation; softer grounds for safety precaution purposes.

Boston Art Walls

Designated Free Wall Space will be provided for local graffiti writers and other visual artists to showcase their artwork. Volunteers and local youth organizations will help designate additional free wall spaces, as well as provide ongoing maintenance.

Chromebooks for High Schools in East Boston, South Boston, and Charlestown

The students of East Boston High School, Charlestown High School, and Excel High School will receive approximately 30 Chromebook laptops. This will enhance student performance by providing them with the latest technology, allowing them to easily acquire information for academic assignments. 

Skate Park Feasibility Study

A feasibility study will be conducted in the Dorchester, South Boston, and East Boston neighborhoods to explore the most sustainable methods of design and ongoing care for implementation of a skate board park.

Security Cameras for Dr. Loesch Family Park

Dr. Loesch Family Park and surrounding premises will receive 15 to 20 surveillance cameras to increase security and protection within the community.

Paris Street Playground Extreme Makeover

Paris Street Playground will receive additional, new creative water features, as well as USB park benches and handicap accessible infrastructures.

New Sidewalks for New Parks

Boston’s newly-renovated Howes Playground and Mount Pleasant Park will receive sidewalk and lighting improvements around the perimeter of both locations. 

Youth Lead the Change will launch its second year in September with a call for steering committee members. To learn more about Youth Lead the Change, visit or contact the Department of Youth Engagement and Employment at 617-635-4202. To see a full listing of all the proposed projects, visit To learn more about the launch of this initiative, visit

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