East River Park Needs our Support – NYC “Plan” Will Bury Entire Park, Destroy 900 Mature Trees

Flyer indicating East River Park will be closed on 4th of July for next four years if plan goes through

Dramatic changes are being proposed for the 57-acre East River Park by the City of New York which will go through without intervention and the community is mobilizing. The city ‘threw out’ a plan that the stakeholders collaborated on: now, their proposal will close the park for years, axe 981 mature trees (again, the cavalier attitude towards the killing of trees in parks), and ‘bury’ the entire park with 10 feet of landfill to “prevent flooding.”

Letter from the Sixth Street Community Center About East River Park:

In a misguided effort to make the Lower East Side Coast of Manhattan more resilient in the face of climate change and rising sea levels— the city wants to spend 1.5 billion dollars to bulldoze the entire East River Park. 

The park has long been the oasis for our extremely diverse Lower East Side Community. 

Many residents consider a loss of the park as an essential loss to their quality of life and well-being. The demolition of the East River Park is a climate justice issue, as it will inequitably cut off access to 60 acres of green space.

Demolishing the park would cut down almost 1000 mature trees, and destroy the biodiversity that currently exists there. This includes 82 bird species, 96 insect species, and more than 200 plant species.

If you are familiar with this climate justice fight, you may have already read about the City’s plan to bulldoze the entire East River Park in the August issue of the Indypendent and our demands for a green new deal for our community.

The community in collaboration with Rebuild By Design developed an earlier plan which was more reflective of our diverse community and our diverse needs. The community plan was more comprehensive in providing flood protection without destroying the entire park.

This community plan was fully trashed by the city and they are now planning to bring in the bulldozers next March. But together we can stop this misguided and destructive scheme.

The park would be closed for a minimum of 3.5 years, but given the city’s track record of projects in the past— the community is concerned that this timeline isn’t realistic given the size of the proposed project and that the park will be closed for much, much longer. During those years of closure, there will be no access to playing fields, no family picnics, and gatherings, no trees, no plants, and no animals…

We are encouraging all to learn more about these issues with us and to join our efforts to support this local climate justice fight. We’ve been teaming up with East River Park Action to make sure that the city rebuilds our park in a way that addresses temporary and long-term flood protection, park preservation and climate justice.

WAYS YOU CAN HELP STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ENTIRE EAST RIVER PARK:

– We will be planning our upcoming action for September 21! [Email: [email protected] to get on their email list about upcoming meetings.]

– Call Council Member Rivera at 212-677-1077, email [email protected] and go to her public meetings. Tell her:
§  Vote NO to option 4 of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project
§  We want independent experts to assess the City’s plan, including the impact of destroying 60 acres of land on nature and people!
§  We want the City to revisit the options preferred by the community and to re-envision the FDR Drive now: Build the flood wall in or along the FDR Drive, expand our park with decking over the FDR and have dedicated bus lanes for non-polluting electric buses!

NYC COUNCIL MEMBER CARLINA RIVERA CAN STOP THIS BAD FLOOD PROTECTION PLAN! The City Council and even the Mayor usually defer to local Council Members on issues affecting their districts.

In solidarity,
Jen, Howard and the Sixth Street Community Center Staff

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