Panic and protest over East River Park-closure plan

The Villager: At a June 11 public hearing about the city’s East Side Coastal Resiliency plan, Lower East Side residents mostly disapproved of the current flood-protection plan and called for more community input into the process.

Held by the Community Board 3 Parks, Recreation, Waterfront & Resiliency Committee, the meeting was part of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) for the application submitted for the plan. The full board of C.B. 3 will ultimately weigh in with its advisory opinion on the proposed project as part of the public-review process.

The scheme would raise East River Park by about 8 to 9 feet.

Before the evening hearing started at P.S./M.S. 188, The Island School, at 442 E. Houston St., opponents decried the plan at a rally organized by the East River Alliance.

Speakers expressed concerns about the impact on air quality by the project’s construction and also asked for a deck to be built over the F.D.R. Drive to create more park space. There were also calls for a longer-term plan beyond the currently proposed protections, which are geared toward 2050 projected water levels.

Also speaking at the rally was Laura Sewell, executive director of the East Village Community Coalition. She called for an independent, third-party panel of experts to comprehensively evaluate the city’s plan, and to request needed data about it and provide updates to the public.

“Given how critical the project is to our community,” she said, “and how many questions remain unanswered as the plan barrels forward, we deserve nothing less.” Read more>>