Republican gubernatorial nominee Rep. Lee Zeldin is lending his support to lower Manhattan residents protesting a proposed resiliency project approved by the Battery Park City Authority.
Controlled by Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul- his rival in the upcoming race- the authority is set to commence construction at the site in the coming weeks. The $221 million South Battery Park City Resiliency Project is aimed at protecting Manhattan from rising sea levels and natural disasters, especially given the growing dangers of storms fueled by climate change. The project would do this by transforming the current relatively flat park into a hilly flood barrier adjacent to the existing esplanade.
“Residents have pointed out that Wagner Park didn’t experience severe flooding during Superstorm Sandy. Others have raised concerns about the exorbitant cost,” Zeldin said Wednesday, adding, “Until these concerns and much more are addressed, the project should not move forward.”
But locals aren’t too happy with the project and want to keep the current open lawn space — with its sweeping view of the Hudson River and Statue of Liberty — instead of plowing it under and then elevating it on a hill. They want consultation on the plan, and are happy that they now have Zeldin backing them.
“We are very pleased that our efforts have raised the support of Congressman Lee Zeldin. We also hope to get support — and intervention — from his opponent in the Governor’s race. Gov. Hochul should realize this is a big election issue for people across Lower Manhattan,” the Battery Park City Neighborhood Association Board Member Britni Erez said in a statement. “She should stop this ill-conceived plan before it ruins our park and help us get a better, science-based resiliency plan,” the statement adds.