The Lower East Side got some good news this morning when the board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC) voted to allocate another $12 million for a new park at Pier 42.
In 2012, the agency created to administer 9/11 recovery funds set aside $16 million for a large recreational area on the dilapidated pier. Today it added $7 million from a settlement fund tied to the fatal 2007 fire at the Deutsche Bank building. The LMDC also shifted $5 million to Pier 42 from unspent funds originally allocated to other projects, including the pavilion in Columbus Park. All told, there’s now about $28 million for the first phase of the park, located just to the north of Montgomery Street.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who have long advocated for Pier 42 funding, released a joint statement this afternoon:
This gives all of New York 12 million more reasons to celebrate. We’ve worked together since 2010 to make a park at Pier 42 a reality. In 2012 we secured $16 million. And we have seen successful interim use the last three summers. This funding is a big step in our long push for a Harbor Park — a Central Park for the center of our city, and an emerald ribbon around Manhattan, which will be so important for the local community and the whole borough.
The grand plan for Pier 42 is expected to cost nearly $100 million. The current funding will pay for an interim park. According to LMDC documents, almost $6 million will be devoted to the demolition of a large shed that’s obstructing views of the East River. Initial plans called for planting grass and trees and building a 7-foot-high knoll. Additional funding will pay for a comfort station (bathrooms) and a playground. Construction was supposed to begin this spring, but design delays forced the city to push it back to January of 2017.
The lawsuit settlement created a $50 million fund for new projects. Other Lower East Side initiatives receiving allocations today include:
- East River Esplanade – $10 million for construction of a new sidewalk, paving and curbs for a section of the esplanade from the Brooklyn Bridge to Catherine Slip.
- Brooklyn Bridge Beach – $5 million for sidewalk paving and curb construction along the waterfront from Peck Slip to the Brooklyn Bridge. An LMDC handout stated, “the project will include the installation of new railings and site furnishings while creating limited beach access near the Brooklyn Bridge.” The city has already committed $7 million for the project.
- University Settlement – $1,126,850 for facility improvements at the Houston Street Center and the agency’s headquarters at 184 Eldridge St.
While allocations were made today, the LMDC board will weigh in once again as plans for various projects progress and contracts are drawn up. David Emil, the organization’s president, reiterated in remarks before the board that the LMDC will be “winding down” during the next couple of years as the last funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are spent.