Details about what will happen during the construction phase of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR) are becoming known... and people don't seem too thrilled about what will be happening.
The ESCR proposal has been in the works for several years post Sandy. It aims to protect against catastrophic flooding by building a "resilient park" along the East River from Montgomery Street on the Lower East Side to 13th Street, as Curbed reported last month.
The city plans to "lift" East River Park by up to 10 feet when work starts in March 2020. However, to do this, the city will need to close East River Park for up to three and a half years, bulldozing all the current amenities, including the just-unveiled new running track and soccer field.
[EVG photo from last month]
Per the Post yesterday:
The newly revised design will elevate the surface of the 40-acre park between the East River and FDR Drive by dumping tons of soil and fill between 13th and Cherry streets, raise and rebuild the esplanade along the river by boosting the height of the pilings underneath, and erect a flood wall at the river’s edge.
At the height of superstorm Sandy, Lower Manhattan was plunged into darkness and the Con Edison substation on East 13th Street was flooded, sparking a transformer explosion that knocked out part of the island’s grid.
The new plan would protect against such catastrophic flooding.
But the collateral damage is the park and its baseball, football, soccer, basketball, tennis and track facilities, which will be bulldozed and covered, with fill, said a Department of Design and Construction official.
The Post spoke with several Park-goers who were incredulous over the closures, especially having to essentially destroy the new $2.8 million running track and soccer field. (An EVG reader who shared the Post story via email wrote that "this is going to be a huge disruption, logistical nightmare" ... "but perhaps very neccessary.")
Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver told the Post that the agency is brainstorming ideas to bring recreational alternatives to East River Park users.
"We have from now until March 2020," he said. "We are looking at city-owned spaces, parks as options for recreation during construction."