De Blasio Administration Pitches Significant Changes To East Side Resiliency Project

Politico: The de Blasio administration on Friday unveiled a dramatically different plan for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project than the one previously pitched — a move that is drawing skepticism from those who helped formulate the original version.

In 2014, roughly two years after Superstorm Sandy, New York City was awarded $335 million in funding for the resiliency project through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s "Rebuild by Design" competition — a grant that expires if it’s not spent by the end of 2022. The project was originally planned as a levee with green and recreation space that would run from Montgomery Street to East 25th Street.

The intention was to add 2.2 miles of coastline that could absorb flooding in the event of a storm surge, but act as a park with jogging trails and other recreational activities on a day-to-day basis. It was expected to cost $760 million in total funding, with the city providing the additional $425 million.

Now, the city is pitching a new, more costly design that will raise the entire park by roughly 8 to 10 feet with a flood wall — a move the city says will reduce the likelihood of the park itself being flooded during a storm. The de Blasio administration says the new design, which will run from Montgomery to East 13th Street, will allow the park to open in 3.5 years instead of five and shift construction away from FDR Drive, reducing the disruption to traffic and residents. It will now cost $1.45 billion, putting more of a financial burden on the city.

“The goals of the project are sustained and we actually believe this is an enhancement of the project,” said Dean Fuleihan, the first deputy mayor, on a call with reporters. Check it out >>