Opponents of the city's plan to demolish East River Park provided an update on their lawsuit in a new brief filed yesterday.
Via the EVG inbox:
Without state oversight, New York City could demolish East River Park and build a levee but would not be obliged to return the entire 1.2 mile riverfront to parkland. The city could also exceed its five-year construction timeline.
Those are two of the reasons why state oversight is needed for the massive $1.45 billion flood control project, says a brief filed July 20. The document is a response to the city’s argument that state approval is not needed.
The lawsuit, East River Park Action et al v City of New York, originally filed in February, asks to halt the East Side Coastal Resiliency project that is scheduled to begin this fall. It also asks to declare the City Council vote last November approving the project “null and void.”
Attorney Arthur Schwartz with the nonprofit Advocates for Justice argues in July 20's 42-page brief that the city is required to seek Alienation from the state. Alienation is the use of parkland for non-park purposes, even for brief periods.
Schwartz notes that "Closing the East River Park, whether completely or in phases, will disproportionately affect the health and well-being and recreational opportunities of low-income New Yorkers who live in the neighborhood around the Park."
Schwartz, a West 12th Street resident, previously filed lawsuits against the city's 14th Street Busway.
You can read more about Alienation of Parkland, the basis of the lawsuit, at this link.
Last November, City Council signed off on the hotly contested flood-protection plan that will bury/elevate East River Park by eight feet as part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. Construction is now expected to start this fall.
Meanwhile, tomorrow night, there's a candlelight vigil set for the Park.
Via the EVG inbox:
"We are gathering in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, specifically against the ecocide that continues to harm Black and Indigenous lives globally; to grieve the thousands of lives, neighbors and loved ones lost to COVID'19; and to come together in protection of land, trees, and the wellness of our community on the Lower East Side,” says vigil organizer Emily Johnson, an artist in residence at Abrons Arts Center and a land and water protector from the Yup'ik Nation.
"In the center of a pandemic the city will destroy the Lower East Side’s only large outdoor green space for wellness and exercise, raise toxic dust and cut down 1,000 trees, reducing air quality and putting residents — especially elders and those who are immunocompromised — at greater risk for and with COVID-19," says Johnson.
The procession starts at 7 p.m. at the Abrons Arts Center amphitheater. Details and directions at this link.
Previously on EV Grieve:
• Opinion: COVID-19 + Storm Surge = Catastrophe for the Lower East Side and East Village (Feb. 7)
• More details on the city's new plan to keep East River Park partially open during flood protection construction (Oct. 3, 2019)
• At the march and rally to save East River Park (Sept. 21, 2019)
• An annual reunion in East River Park (Aug. 4, 2019)
• A visit to East River Park (July 10, 2019)