East Side Resiliency Plan Faces Key Hearing

City Limits: The de Blasio administration has a plan to shore up the Lower East Side’s defenses against rising seawaters. It will also rebuild the largest park in Lower Manhattan. There will be 40 acres of greenspace. The park will have eight baseball fields, three soccer fields and a running track. There will be a multipurpose field, four-and-a-half basketball courts and 12 tennis courts, according to the project’s website.

So what’s not to like? Both of the community boards in whose districts the project falls have approved it, but conditioned their “yes” votes on extensive lists of conditions.

Meanwhile, some stakeholders are upset that, with little warning or explanation, last year the de Blasio administration ripped up a different plan for the same space that it developed in concert with the community over a four-year period.

And while the new plan offers a faster building timeline, it requires the total closure of a key park in a part of the city starved for open space – and some in the neighborhood are skeptical that the shutdown will expedite the project as the city claims.

A hearing on the East Side project is scheduled for Wednesday evening.

Two miles of coastline

The East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) Project is an initiative of coastal protection funded by New York City and the federal government. The project aims to reduce flooding from coastal storms and the rise of sea level on the East Side. This protection stretches from Montgomery Street to East 25thStreet, that is 2.4 miles of coastline protection.

ESCR is led by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. There are other departments working in this project such as the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of City Planning (DCP), and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). The city hired AKRF, a consultant team that has experts on waterfront and coastal engineering, stormwater management, and landscape architecture. Read More>>