Tomorrow afternoon at 1, City Council is holding a joint committee hearing with de Blasio administration officials and relevant agency commissioners about the updated East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. (Find the agenda item at this link.)
Council members — led by District 2's Carlina Rivera — hope to learn more about the city's new vision for the revamp to stormproof East River Park. The updated plan was released in the fall, in an L-train-ish fashion that caught many stakeholders by surprise after years of outreach and groundwork.
The updated plan — released without any community input — is radically different than what had been discussed, and its expected cost will increase from $760 million to $1.45 billion, while closing and burying the current East River Park for up to three-plus years. (The city's new design renderings are at this link.)
The Times caught up to the story in a piece headlined To Save East River Park, the City Intends to Bury It on Sunday.
An excerpt from the Times:
In a separate interview, the Parks Department commissioner, Mitchell J. Silver, said that unlike passive parks that double as floodplains, like those by Jamaica Bay, East River Park has structures, lights and synthetic turf, which “does not do well” in floods. And with the river projected to rise two and a half feet in 30 years, raising the park is the only way to save it.
By bringing in landfill and soil by barge, the new plan allows for daytime construction away from the highway, minimizing traffic disruptions. After its scheduled March 2020 launch, the new plan can thus be completed in three years rather than five, with flood protection in place by 2022.
Still, the park’s closing under either plan has left people like Joan Reinmuth, a retired nurse and 30-year East Village resident, doubtful. “This park is more than a recreation facility,” she said. “These kids in NYCHA houses don’t take vacation cruises. They don’t shop at Zabar’s for fish; they fish to eat. Early mornings, men are shaving in the fountains.”
Rivera, who called for Wednesday's oversight hearing, shared her thoughts on the project in series of tweets on Friday...
Although the NYT headline above suggests otherwise, we still do not have any real data and analysis that explains why the entire park needs to buried and replaced, which would double original cost of this massive project. (3/5)— Carlina Rivera 利華娜 (@CarlinaRivera) January 18, 2019
I think Vaylateena Jones sums up how we all feel: “The way this planning is being done is disempowering. City officials collaborated with us over four years and came up with a detailed design — only to now return with this entirely new design.” (5/5)— Carlina Rivera 利華娜 (@CarlinaRivera) January 18, 2019
Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: The reality of storm-proofing East River Park in 2020
Storm center: Questions linger over updated plans for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project
Mayor's new East River Park flood plan faces City Council scrutiny