Mayor Announces Seaport Capital Project to Prevent Flooding

Mayor Bill de Blasio. Image credit: CityLand

On October 26, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an investment of $110 million for a capital project to address the threat of storm surge and rising sea levels for Lower Manhattan. The proposed project will rebuild and raise the existing bulkhead and improve the drainage between the Brooklyn Bridge and Pier 17. The announcement was made with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency. 

As Lower Manhattan is home to municipal government offices, thousands of jobs, subway lines, and serves as an economic hub, protecting the area from future storm damage and rising sea levels is critical. The resiliency project is projected to prevent up to $400 million in damages to the area and prevent long-term erosion in the low-lying district. The project is also expected to improve waterfront access and will improve the City’s ability to apply for federal funding to safeguard the area. 

The project is a part of a forthcoming plan entitled the Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan, which will identify solutions to guard the mile of unprotected coastline in Manhattan. The full plan should be released by the end of the year. The master plan is a part of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency initiative, which consists of $800 million in City investments to protect Lower Manhattan against climate change.

Mayor de Blasio stated, “As we approach the nine year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy we must ensure that families, businesses, and communities in Lower Manhattan, one of the most densely populated parts of our city, are protected from the accelerating effects of climate change. This project does just that, guaranteeing that some of the most vulnerable areas can continue to thrive for generations to come.”

New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh stated, ““As this summer has reminded us once again, in tragic fashion, the catastrophic effects of climate change are already with us today. Events like Hurricane Ida and Superstorm Sandy will only continue to occur with greater frequency, and even as we push for huge investments in preventing climate-changing pollution, it is also imperative that we invest now in mitigating the effects of extreme weather, coastal storm surge, and other dangers. Lower Manhattan–one of the nation’s largest economic and cultural hubs and home to thousands of people–is especially at risk, and investing in coastal resiliency here will safeguard jobs and critical infrastructure that serve the entire City. While we have a long way to go before there is a consensus regarding plans to protect the historic Seaport District, one of our most vulnerable areas, the commitment of $110 million in capital funding is an important first step toward creating the protection we need. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in government–including the de Blasio administration and the new administration in January–and our community partners, toward a comprehensive approach that will safeguard our communities from the dangers of climate change.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)


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