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Mayor to Unveil $10 Billion Lower Manhattan Flood Protection Plan

The scene along the East River Esplanade during Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Virginia Jones.

The mayor this morning is announcing his revamped plan to protect Lower Manhattan from climate change.  At 10:30 a.m., he’s scheduled to appear at the Metropolitan College of New York, 60 West St., to unveil the proposal. He also writes vaguely about the city’s latest scheme for, “filling one of the biggest gaps in our coastal defenses” in New York Magazine.

In the article, de Blasio hints about building out into the East River, a development first reported last week by Gothamist. The mayor explains:

It will be one of the most complex environmental and engineering challenges our city has ever undertaken and it will, literally, alter the shape of the island of Manhattan… The plan we’re announcing will invest a half-billion dollars to fortify most of Lower Manhattan with grassy berms in parks and removable barriers than can be anchored in place as storms approach. But there’s one part of this area that will prove more complex, and more costly, to defend than all the others combined. South Street Seaport and Financial District, along the eastern edge of Lower Manhattan, sit so close to sea level — just eight feet above the waterline — and are so crowded with utilities, sewers and subway lines that we can’t build flood protection on the land. So we’ll have to build more land itself.

The mayor’s plan calls for building out into the river by as much as 500 feet in some places. The plan would cost a whopping $10 billion.

After a long community-driven planning process, the city scrapped an earlier version of the East River resiliency plan. Residents have been mobilizing against new proposals from city hall which would “bury” East River Park.

More to come…




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