Lower Manhattan will be receiving another big grant from the federal government to protect neighborhoods along the waterfront from future storms and rising water levels.
In the New York Times, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer reports that the city is the beneficiary of $176 million through a nationwide competition being run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The funds will be used to create a flood protection system from Montgomery Street to the northern tip of Battery Park City.
In an earlier competition, the feds awarded New York City $335 million for a network of berms and flood walls from 23rd Street to Montgomery Street. That part of the project is now undergoing environmental review ahead of the anticipated start of construction in mid-2017. The city already allocated $100 million for the resiliency program below Montgomery Street. It had hoped for up to $500 million from Washington in new funding.
Schumer told the Times, “The Lower East Side waterfront is almost a wasteland compared to the West Side waterfront, and this should make them much more equal.”
UPDATE 11:28 a.m. Reaction is coming in from local elected officials. From City Council member Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer:
As authors of a resolution in support of the City’s application for critical federal funding to protect Lower Manhattan from flooding, we are gratified by HUD’s decision to award $176 million for badly needed resiliency measures. It is our hope that this award, together with the $100 million in resiliency funding already committed by the de Blasio Administration, will provide the solid financial backing to begin quickly the work of safeguarding property, vital infrastructure, and most importantly, lives in the path of future storms.
From the better late than never department, the resolution will be voted on by the Council today. Here’s reaction from State Sen. Daniel Squadron:
Today’s news… is a significant step toward completing comprehensive resiliency measures around Lower Manhattan to the north end of Battery Park City. These funds, together with the nearly $115 million I worked with the city and state to have committed to Lower Manhattan, will allow resiliency efforts to continue south of Montgomery Street, north of which the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project is proceeding. Along with Lower Manhattan colleagues and leaders, I have been pushing to ensure that protection around the entire tip of the island is a top priority. I am pleased that city, state and federal leaders have responded to our push — the city and state committed $14.75 million last March, the city pledged $100 million in last year’s budget, and Senator Schumer advocated forcefully, including with HUD Secretary Castro.