Commute the Death Sentence for East River Park
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CALL TO ACTION:
CONTACT GOVERNOR CUOMO INSISTING AN EXECUTIVE ORDER TO SAVE EAST RIVER PARK
CUOMO ALBANY OFFICE: (518) 474-8418
CUOMO NEW YORK CITY OFFICE: (212) 681-4580
SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES: @NYGOVCUOMO
FILL OUT THIS CONTACT FORM WITH THE PETITION DESCRIPTION IN THE **MESSAGE** BOX: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form
We are petitioning for an executive order keeping 100% of East River Park in Manhattan open for the duration of the pandemic. Without the intervention, the City will start the demolition of these 1.2 miles of beloved riverfront parks this fall for a controversial flood control project.
Demolishing the park will be an environmental injustice and public health crisis for our crowded Lower East Side and East Village communities with many people of color, elderly and low-income residents.
Health disaster during a pandemic
Especially during this pandemic, our community needs parkland for physical and mental health, a place to be outside and maintain social distance. There is no other nearby open space. In fact, NYCHA campuses adjacent to the East River Park have lost hundreds of trees and their green spaces are currently surrounded by high chain link fences due to the construction of a separate FEMA flood control project that has caused rat infestations and construction dust. The area already suffers from poor air quality due to emissions from vehicles on the Williamsburg Bridge, the FDR Drive and the Con Edison plant.
This neighborhood also has a high Covid-19 infection rate--on top of already high rates of asthma and upper respiratory ills. When the City digs up contaminated soil for the construction of the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, it will create unbearable noise and possibly contaminated dust. Even a small amount of additional particulate matter can make the residents more susceptible to the Covid-19 virus.
An Unjust Flood Control Plan
Currently, NYC’s $1.45 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency project will demolish East River Park in phases beginning with fencing off 60% of the Park later this year. They will destroy every bit of the biodiversity including 1,000 mature trees that have grown up in the Park’s 80-year life. These trees and the greenery cleanse and cool the air and help forestall heat island effect and climate change.
After Hurricane Sandy, the city had worked with the community to develop flood wall plans along the FDR and to make the park resilient to survive storm surges. Yet, without consulting the community, the city decided on a more expensive, more resource intensive, environmentally destructive plan when environmentally and socially conscious plans are viable.
The plan is to cover the Park in 8 feet of imported fill (nearly a million tons) as flood protection and to rebuild the Park on top. It will take more than the City’s joke of a timeline of 5 years. Had they moved forward with an earlier plan, protection would already be in place both in the park and upland of it.
Stop the Destruction of Our Park. #PauseESCR
By halting this project, our community will be able to continue to use the Park during this pandemic to maintain our health and well being. It will also give the city time to reconsider immediate flood protection as well as long-term flood control methods that preserve the Park and support the community. Please help us by mandating that the city keep the entire park open at least while we face the pandemic.
Thank you for your leadership during the pandemic and your attention on this matter.
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