“RIP East River Park 1939-2019,” say black banners that have been placed around trees along the East River Park promenade. No group has claimed responsibility for this action yet, but it seems rooted in the deep distrust citizens feel as the city cast away the community led plan in favor of a “Preferred Alternative Plan” that will close the park for years, destroy it, and rebuild it for flood protection.
But we say WAIT. It is not time for a funeral. There is a better way forward for flood protection, for our park, and for our community.
The East River Alliance is working with the community and the city to develop a plan that provides immediate flood protection this season, and maintains access to our greenspaces through the construction period.
We can change the plan so that we
- Gain long-term Flood Protection that is environmentally sound and will preserve parts of our park. In the meantime, in the coming year and through construction, we need emergency deployable barriers.
- The city will work with us in a collaborative, transparent process to find alternatives to the current plan–which the city put together in a hurry without consulting our community or meeting the needs of our community. For instance, go back to an earlier proposal developed with our community: Build parkland over the FDR Drive, which would provide flood protection and new park space. It would also keep much of the current park intact. At the time, the idea was too expensive. Now, the budget has doubled to $1.4 billion. The plan is feasible.
- Keep parts of the park open during the years of reconstruction (as the mayor promised just last week!)
- Improve other parks in the East Side Coastal Resiliency area, and activate underutilized and unused spaces for the good of the communities they belong to.
(If you have been trying to email us and have been getting an error message, many apologies–we have fixed that.)