Wait, wait, there is a Value Engineering Study.
That’s the report the de Blasio administration cited in 2018 when they announced a change in the flood control plan for East River Park that would double the cost and bury the entire park in eight feet of fill. Yet when we submitted a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to see the Value Engineering Study, the city said the report didn’t exist…
… until we appealed. On Feb. 11, the NYC Department of Design and Construction finally released the three-year-old study. But, the report is heavily redacted. Here’s a good page. Note that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages:
We need to see an un-redacted report. We also strongly support the NYC Group of the Sierra Club, which “calls upon the City Council’s Committees on Environmental Protection and the Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee to hold a joint oversight hearing on the East River Coastal Resiliency Project or ESCR” to get to the bottom of the “secrecy, inadequacy, and sequence of events and information releases [that] have left many perplexed and disturbed.” (Sierra Club letter link to pdf below)
We still need answers to our vital questions:
- Is the East Side Coastal Resiliency even a viable plan?
- Will it reduce construction time? There have already been many delays.
- Can it really be done for the budgeted $1.45 billion? Thus far, even the lowest contractors’ bids exceed the city’s estimates.Is the giant proposed levee really going to hold back the water into the next century?
- Are there other solutions that will provide equal flood protection for our neighborhood without completely destroying our 82-year old park?
- Will the dust and impacts of construction damage the health of neighborhood residents?
- Why won’t the city reevaluate its refusal to provide any interim flood protection during the years of construction?
Our many ACTIONeers have pored over the plans and have found fatal flawsthat will damage our neighborhood’s well being for years to come. We must have transparency, accountability, and community involvement in a revised plan.
Please donate to our legal fund to make sure we get the plan we deserve, not this unjust boondoggle that will enrich a few and cause misery in the Lower East Side and East Village.
Value Engineering Links
The 347-page Value Engineering Study for the Office of Management and Budget is available here: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/escr/downloads/pdf/ESCR-Value-Engineering-Study-Preliminary-Report-2018.pdf
The 31-page Report of Findings is available here:
Read the New York Post’s coverage by Melissa Klein, February 27, 2021, New York POST:
”The lack of transparency in this $1.45 billion public project is unconscionable. These redactions are just a pattern of disdain that the city has shown toward our community,” said Tommy Loeb, a member of East River Park Action.
The city used the value engineering report as the basis for ditching another flood protection plan that would not have decimated the 57-acre park. The report says the plan to raise the level of the park would save $319 million.