Volume 20, Number 48 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 24 - 30, 2010
L.M.D.C sets waterfront priorities, Pier 42 missing
BY Aline Reynolds
Downtown’s affordable housing stock could increase and the East Side waterfront could receive a facelift, if funding from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation materializes.
The L.M.D.C. decided on distinct categories for the allocation of approximately $200 million in grant money for Downtown projects at its monthly board meeting on Monday, two months after it announced the availability of the funds.
Ninety-nine million dollars will be allocated to the Performing Arts Center and $37 million will fund the East River waterfront esplanade.
A total of $17 million would be directed towards the walkway along the Battery Maritime Building, and to infrastructure improvements between Piers 15 and 16 and Catherine and Pike Slips on the Lower East Side. It will also encompass a refurbishment of the walkway near the Battery Maritime Building in Bowling Green, according to L.M.D.C. spokesperson John Delibero.
The remaining $2 million of the $37 million sum would “allow for at least the East River Park Connector aspect of improvements in the area of Pier 42,” he said.
But it does not include the redevelopment of Pier 42, which currently consists of a parking lot and a shed. New York State Senator Daniel Squadron would like to see the pier transformed into a recreational green space for the local community. “It’s an iconic project to match the [P.A.C.] on the West Side,” he said. “Without it, [the waterfront project] won’t reach the full potential.”
Construction of Pier 42, he added, would create a “unified Harbor park” for Lower Manhattan, connecting the Hudson River Park on the west side with the East River Park on the east side.
Squadron and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer held a press conference on Sunday at the Pier 42 site, at Montgomery Street and the East River, to advocate for the allocation of $45 million in L.M.D.C. grant money, separate from the $200 million, to go towards the transformation of the pier into open park space.
Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin supports the Pier 42 overhaul, saying that it would foster short- and long-term job creation and be on par with the West Side waterfront. She confirmed that the $45 million would not come from the $200 million pot. “There are other additional pots of money that would be used to fund that project,” she said, such as funds earmarked for the Fulton Street development and a legal settlement with Bovis Lend Lease, the contractor hired for the demolition of 130 Liberty Street.
When asked about potential funding sources for the $45 million, Delibro said, “I can’t answer that at this time.”
The $200 million allocation will undergo a 30-day public comment period, which is a crucial step in the release of the money, according to Menin.
“I want to make sure that the public has the ability to be able to provide input on what the allocations should be, and that it be a truly transparent process,” said Menin.
Delibero refused to comment on when the public comment period would take place.