Turns out there is a value engineering study after all.
In January (first reported here), following a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request by advocacy group East River Park Action, NYC's Department of Design and Construction (DDC) stated that the city's value engineering report could not be sent because: "DDC's search of agency records revealed no responsive documents for [the FOIL] request."
The value engineering study is the oft-cited factor behind the city's change of plans in September 2018 to bury/elevate East River Park by eight feet as part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project.
According to an email from East River Park Action on Sunday, the group appealed their original FOIL request, and on Feb. 11, the DDC released the three-year-old report.
However, per East River Action: "the report is heavily redacted. Here's a good page. Note that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages..."
We need to see an un-redacted report. We also strongly support the NYC Group of the Sierra Club, which "calls upon the City Council's Committees on Environmental Protection and the Council's Parks and Recreation Committee to hold a joint oversight hearing on the East River Coastal Resiliency Project or ESCR" to get to the bottom of the “secrecy, inadequacy, and sequence of events and information releases [that] have left many perplexed and disturbed.”
The 347-page Value Engineering Study for the Office of Management and Budget is available here. The 31-page Report of Findings is available here.
The city's current plan, which has been met with outrage by community members, will raze the 57.5-acre East River Park, bulldozing 1,000 mature trees and rebuilding the park atop eight feet of landfill meant to protect the Lower East Side and surrounding neighborhoods from a 100-year-flood event and sea-level rise.
In October 2019, the city announced that they would phase in the construction so only portions of the park are closed to the public at any given time. According to various reports, the city has committed to leaving a minimum of 42 percent of East River Park open to the public. It is projected to be complete in 2025.
The start of construction, which had been slated to commence this past fall, was delayed until this spring, according to a recent presentation the city made.
But after seeing the redacted report, East River Park has many outstanding questions for the city to answer.
Our many ACTIONeers have pored over the plans and have found fatal flaws that will damage our neighborhood's well being for years to come. We must have transparency, accountability, and community involvement in a revised plan.