Bikes and Wi-Fi among youth budget priorities

More Hubway bikes and free Wi-Fi. A renovated school gym. And more water-bottle refilling stations in parks like the one pioneered at Jamaica Pond.

Those are the City budget priorities chosen by a vote of more than 2,500 Boston youths in Mayor Martin Walsh’s annual Youth Participatory Budgeting Vote, according to a City press release.

Debuting last year with Walsh’s new Youth Lead the Change initiative, the process allows Boston youths ages 12 to 25 to vote on how to allocate $1 million on various budget proposals from a list also developed by youths. Organized in partnership with the New York-based nonprofit the Participatory Budgeting Project, the process allowed for voting at such locations as schools and T stations.

Expansion of the popular Hubway bike-rental system to more neighborhoods is budgeted at $101,600. Expanding the City’s “Wicked Free Wi-Fi” program is budgeted at $119,000.

Renovating the gym at Roxbury’s Boston Latin Academy is another youth priority, budgeted at $475,000.

The youths also like the idea of the water stations in parks. Local City Councilor Matt O’Malley got a combo water fountain and refill station installed by a private corporation at Jamaica Pond Park in 2013. Young voters pegged $260,000 to install more stations on Boston Common and in parks in Roslindale, South Boston and West Roxbury.

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