Appeals Court Overturns Restraining Order that Halted East River Park Resiliency Work

Posted on: December 2nd, 2021 at 5:02 am by

Photo: Emily Johnson

The community-led effort to permanently halt destruction of East River Park for coastal resilience took a major blow this week. An appellate court ruled Tuesday that the $1.45 billion project can move forward after a month-long hiatus.

On Tuesday, the Appellate Division, First Department upheld the lower court’s decision, and overturned the temporary restraining in place since early November. The judgement is just the latest chapter in a lawsuit brought forth last year by more than one hundred Lower East Side residents and community groups (spearheaded by East River Park ACTION) who oppose the plan.

The court seemed to empathize with the closure of the 46-acre park, but noted that a “rejuvenated East River Park” with flood protection benefits all.

Photo: DDC

“We do not discount petitioner’s concerns that this project will impose a burden on the surrounding community that houses tens of thousands of residents,” the decision read.

“The city expects that any burden caused by the project will be rewarded with a rejuvenated East River Park that is well protected from future storm surges, allowing the park to fulfill its role as a recreational area for many years and future generations,” the ruling continued.

Arthur Schwartz, a lawyer representing the petitioners in the case, disagreed with the ruling and told the New York Post he plans to take his appeal to the highest court in New York State.

The forthcoming construction is part of the first phase, with partial closure of portions of the southern end of the park and creation of new pedestrian routes to accommodate equipment movement and perimeter fencing. As expected, additional phased park closures will happen from now into 2022 to “accommodate an aggressive work schedule to ensure timely completion,” per the city.

As reported, the $1.45 billion plan will see the destruction and rebirth of the park eight feet higher than the status quo. It means the removal of one thousand mature trees, demolition of architecturally significant Track House and Tennis Center Comfort Station, and the loss of open public space on the coastline.

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