Local Groups Try to Boost Turnout For Wednesday Hearing on East River Storm Barrier

East River Park Hearing (1)

Local residents and community organizations are trying to get the word out for tomorrow’s City Council oversight hearing on revised plans for a flood barrier along the East River.

The city administration abandoned a previous plan that included a lot of community engagement, suddenly shifting to a new proposal that, as the New York Times noted the other day, includes “burying the park under eight to 10 feet of landfill.” The hearing takes place at 1 p.m. at City Hall.

One of the groups especially outspoken about the new plan is the Lower East Side Ecology Center. Its executive director, Christine Datz-Romero, told reporter Joe Hanania:

“We agree we need to protect our community, but I don’t understand why we have to destroy a park to do so,” Ms. Datz-Romero said. Instead, she envisions the park as a floodplain, slowing and absorbing rising waters with salt-tolerant Juniper and sumac trees her volunteers have already planted. “We have seen no environmental impact statement addressing any of this. Instead, we are told little, our concerns steamrollered,” she said.

While city officials note that an environmental review was prepared, community residents have pointed out that none of the new potential impacts from the city’s revised scheme were studied.