New East River Park Should Rise Even Higher, Expert Says

Patch: The massive storm protection project proposed for East River Park needs to be even taller than current plans call for, according to a consultant's report released Thursday.

Hans Gehrels, a third- party consultant hired by local politicians, says the city should consider adding two feet to its current storm protection plan, which calls for burying and rebuilding the East River Park 8 to ten feet higher under the $1.45 billion resiliency project.

"Based on the community's resistance to the removing of trees and vegetation," reads the report from Deltares, a Netherlands-based firm, "it is recommended including the additional two feet of fill to be considered in the current project, rather than leaving it as a future option."

The project, which will create a series of flood walls north and south of the East River Park and bury and rebuild the park itself, will protect the neighborhood from storms that have a one percent chance of happening under projections for the 2050s. City officials have said the park's project design is adaptable to be built two feet higher, particularly under worse sea level rise conditions than anticipated.

But Gehrels' firm Deltares says, "Including [the additional two feet] in the current project would avoid having to remove the mature vegetation around the 2050s, when sea level rise will likely reach a level that the two additional feet will be needed," according to the report, commissioned by Borough President Gale Brewer and East Village Council Member Carlina Rivera last month. Read more>>

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