East River Park to lose more trees
The $69.1 million reconstruction of East River Park between Jackson St. on the Lower East Side and E. 13th St. in the East Village will require the removal of 77 more trees, the Department of Parks and Recreation announced last week.
Despite our efforts to work around the 1,160 trees in the park, 60 were removed last April and an additional 77 will have to be removed in the fall, the department said in a report to Community Board 3.
A little more than 10 percent of the park trees, those that line the waterfront on the deteriorating platform over the East River, are in direct conflict with the excavation and reconstruction of the promenade.
The design team spent 10 months examining all possible alternatives to removing the trees, but it was the only option for the safe reconstruction of the promenade. Those 137 trees will be replaced by 326 new trees and thousands of new shrubs and flowers, the report says. Moreover, the department intends to plant 603 more street trees throughout the neighborhood, beginning in the fall of 2006.
The reconstruction project began in the spring of 2001 with an underwater inspection that found the bulkhead and platforms were not structurally sound and had to be closed to the public.
The construction began last year and is scheduled for completion in 2007. In Stage 1, Con Edison is removing an old oil line and relocating two electrical feeders. Stage 2, which began in January, involves the removal and replacement of the 75-year-old support structure and Stage 3 will be the creation of the waterfront esplanade with a soft green edge, new pavements, benches, tables and chairs, lighting, a wood-and-stainless steel railing and an expanded landscaped park perimeter.
The ballfields, tennis courts and running track, still used daily, will be closed temporarily at various times time to accommodate the reconstruction and protect the public. The closures will be posted in the park and at www.nyc.gov/parks.