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Mayor Announces Plan to Keep Nearly Half of Park Open Throughout Construction of East Side Coastal Resiliency Project

October 2, 2019

Phasing plan does not delay implementation of flood protections, which will be in place by 2023 hurricane season

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a plan for the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project that will phase the reconstruction of East River Park and other open spaces so that access for local residents to large parts of the park can be maintained throughout the entire project.

“The community spoke and we listened,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Nearly half of East River Park will remain open throughout construction – without compromising essential flood protections for 110,000 New Yorkers. We are building a more resilient city to meet the challenge of global warming head-on. We look forward to our ongoing work with Council Members Keith Powers, Carlina Rivera, Margaret Chin and community leaders, whose input helped make this phasing plan a reality.”

Details of the plan will be presented at a City Council hearing on Thursday. The phasing plan will allow nearly half of East River Park to stay open at all times and will still deliver flood protection by hurricane season 2023, one full hurricane season earlier than under the previous project approach.  In order to enable the new park phasing plan, the schedule for completion of the overall project will be extended to the end of 2025, without any delay in delivering critical flood protection to the 110,000 local residents vulnerable to severe climate impacts in the future. Construction is scheduled to begin in March 2020.

While early ESCR construction work will commence in spring 2020, all of East River Park will remain open until Fall 2020.

First Phase of Construction (Fall 2020 to Spring 2023): The vast majority of the park areas from Delancey to Houston Streets will remain open as well as the amphitheater area in the south and the portion from approximately East 10th to East 12th Street in the north.

Second Phase of Construction (Spring 2023 to Late 2025): Newly rebuilt portions of East River Park will be open from Houston Street to approximately East 10th Street, as well as the vast majority of the park areas from Corlears Hook Bridge to Delancey Street.

Esplanade areas will follow a separate construction schedule and will be made available as construction permits. To meet the needs of area residents, in addition to phasing, new and improved open space resources will be made available in the surrounding neighborhoods, including a new park adjacent to Pier 42 to be completed in spring 2022. The plan also ensures that open space near the northern end of the project will be phased to maximize public access to open space and playgrounds in Asser Levy, Murphy Brothers, Stuyvesant Cove.

“After careful consideration, this new phasing plan will address the key concerns voiced from residents while continuing to provide essential protection from storm surge and rising sea levels to thousands of New Yorkers,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “With a project as innovative and sophisticated as this, we wanted to ensure we were able to meet the community's concerns while ultimately not compromising the safety of New Yorkers – this plan accomplishes that.”

“The Mayor charged the team at DDC to find a way to ensure the safety of thousands of New Yorkers by providing flood protection on time and also maintain recreation in East River Park while this critical work goes on. This is a great outcome driven by the community and we are thrilled to be able meet this challenge,” said Lorraine Grillo, Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction.

“This urgently needed project will protect New Yorkers from storm surge and sea level rise for generations to come,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency. “Under our plan, permanent flood protections will be operational by hurricane season 2023, one year sooner than the previous project approach, and the surrounding community will have access to major areas of East River Park as construction proceeds.” 

“After great consideration on how best to deliver a holistic plan that serves the Lower East Side’s need for open space during construction and for decades to come, the new phasing plan, coupled with our neighborhood parks improvements, accomplishes that,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver. “Now, with this approach, the community will receive flood protection earlier and have ongoing park access in the interim.”

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