Opponents Of City’s East River Park Resiliency Project Sue For More Transparency


A bunch of East Village residents against a flood safety plan involving rebuilding the East River Park has sued Metropolis Corridor—once more—to try to halt the mission.

This time, the East River Park Motion group is suing for added paperwork that town used as its foundation for the resiliency mission—which was overhauled in 2018.

Already, town has partially relented, releasing a more moderen model with fewer redactions days after the lawsuit. However the group remains to be making an attempt to cease the flood safety mission from transferring ahead.

“To me, now, it raises much more suspicions,” stated Jonathan Lefkowitz, an East Village resident and member of the East River Park Motion group suing Metropolis Corridor. “Why do now we have to undergo all of this?”

The $1.45 billion mission, for which development preparations started final fall, would elevate the East River Park 8- to 10-feet larger with a sequence of flood partitions on the both finish of the park. The resiliency design is aimed to guard residents from flooding like that of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy—which devastated the East Village and Decrease East Facet neighborhoods—and from sea degree rise attributable to local weather change. This plan is the newer model of an earlier mission that will have constructed a flood wall alongside FDR Drive and never required the complete park to be rebuilt.

In January, the East River Park Motion group filed a public information request for an 2018 engineering examine to higher perceive the reasoning for the mission change that left residents feeling blindsided. Town and the group sparred for 3 months over what elements of the examine might be launched beneath public information legal guidelines, with some redactions faraway from the Workplace of Administration and Funds report, in line with the April 2nd lawsuit. Town “erred in concluding that the requested communications are exempt from disclosure,” the lawsuit reads. The East River Park Motion group, numerous residents, Grand Avenue Democrats, and a lot of candidates operating for workplace joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs.

Days after the lawsuit was filed, Councilmember Carlina Rivera announced that City Hall could be releasing extra paperwork from these 2018 opinions.

“As my workplace opinions these paperwork, I’ll proceed to demand that the administration tackle the considerations of the Group Advisory Group, advocates, and neighbors as development continues on these desperately wanted local weather resiliency measures for our East Facet communities,” Rivera stated in a press release. The councilmember has been scrutinized for her general assist of the mission, which she in the end helped greenlight by way of the general public evaluate course of after securing a staggered development timeline to permit for elements of East River Park to stay open throughout the estimated 5-year rebuild.

The 347-page engineering doc, up to date 4 days after the lawsuit was filed, nonetheless has a number of pages redacted. The Division of Design and Development, the lead company for the east aspect resiliency mission, instructed one other neighborhood oversight group that the remaining redactions had been attributable to “safety considerations.”

Lefkowitz stated that the worth engineering examine may reveal info for an additional lawsuit the group filed final yr, which argued the mission wanted state legislature approval to rebuild the park. That lawsuit was dismissed final summer season.

“They’re mainly reducing off a lot of individuals from a park and offering no options, no viable options,” Lefkowitz stated.

The activist group has been preventing the revamped plan because it was introduced in 2018. The group prefers the sooner model of the plan, which might have constructed a flood wall alongside the FDR Drive, maintaining a lot of the park intact however permitting it to flood throughout storms like Sandy, whereas nonetheless defending residents from storm surges.

The mission is partially funded by way of $338 million in federal cash allotted after Sandy, which have to be spent by subsequent yr.

Town’s Legislation Division didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon the lawsuit, nor did the DDC or Metropolis Corridor.