At a board meeting held yesterday, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) went public with a list of projects it hopes to fund in the next several years. Some of the money is earmarked for the waterfront on the Lower East Side.
The agency created in the aftermath of 9/11 has spent almost all of the money allocated by the federal government for Lower Manhattan renewal. But the LMDC has another $50 million to dole out thanks to a recent settlement with construction firm Lend Lease for its handling of a deadly fire at the Deutsche Bank building in 2007.
According to the Real Deal, the agency anticipates awarding $7 million for Pier 42, a large park that’s planned just above Montgomery Street. Another $10 million would go to the East River Esplanade between Beekman Street and Pier 42. A public hearing will be held in September on the proposed expenditures.
Several years ago, the LMDC awarded $16 million for the first phase of the Pier 42 project. Next spring, the Parks Department will begin creating an interim recreational space while the city tries to secure more funding. The total cost of the project will exceed $90 million.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron, along with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, lobbied the LMDC for the initial round of Pier 42 funding. Squadron released a statement yesterday that read, in part:
Today’s meeting of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation makes clear that LMDC’s work is far from completed. Just today, the board put forward an extensive list of worthy projects ready to be funded and completed over the next two years, across Lower Manhattan. Among these is Pier 42. A full build out of Pier 42 is critical to the continued revitalization of Lower Manhattan, providing more open space to the Lower East Side and Chinatown, and expanding our Harbor Park — a central park for the center of our city… No rebuilding of Lower Manhattan will be complete without meeting its extensive resiliency needs. The city, state, and federal governments have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to fortify Lower Manhattan from the next catastrophic storm, but gaps remain. Most significantly, protection between Montgomery Street and Battery Park City remains unfunded and is an urgent need. It is important to determine LMDC’s role in this resiliency effort…
Some critics have called for the dismantling of the LMDC, which they have called a needless bureaucratic entity. There’s was speculation that its days were numbered, especially after the demise of Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, one of the agency’s biggest champions.
There’s a separate $335 million initiative to build a flood barrier from East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street. Residents living below Pier 42 have complained that the city’s initial plans fail to offer their homes protection from future storms. The city has devoted some resources to studying an extension of the flood barrier.