In the community, there are many unanswered questions about the city’s sudden decision to overhaul the plan for a flood barrier along the East River. Now the City Council has scheduled an oversight hearing to learn more about the decision to scrap the original proposal, which involved years of community outreach.
The joint hearing of the Council’s committees on Parks and Environmental Protection will be held Jan. 23 at 1 p.m. In a statement released yesterday, City Council member Carlina Rivera explained:
This hearing will finally give the Council and our community the chance to hear directly from the Mayor’s team and relevant agency commissioners regarding the recent changes to this monumental coastal protection project. Even with multiple community briefings and meetings with elected officials, we still do not have important details about this project, and I expect the Mayor’s team to come well prepared and help us understand the need for these drastic changes. This new plan represents a fundamental departure from anything the City has previously discussed and would reportedly bring the projected cost of the project to $1.45 billion. The Mayor’s Office has failed to provide detailed analyses for explaining why this $700 million increase is necessary. In addition, this new plan would require the closure of East River Park, the only real green space for tens of thousands of NYCHA residents and community members on the Lower East Side, for three years. Officials have not explained in any way how they will provide alternate outdoor space for this community, which has one of the highest asthma rates in the city.
Other meetings are scheduled regarding the project. On Thursday evening, city officials will outline their plans at a meeting of Community Board 3’s parks committee (this will be a repeat of presentations from two public meetings held last month). The committee meets at the BRC Senior Services Center, 30 Delancey St., 6:30 p.m. And tonight, a local coalition will hold its own grass roots meeting at the Boys and Girls Republic, 888 East 6th St. at 6:30 p.m. More about that meeting here.