Scant Information about Radical Changes Contemplated for the Battery
City Hall is keeping mum about plans resiliency plans for the Battery, the historic park at the southern tip of Manhattan, according to a recent discussion at Community Board 1 (CB1).
At a May 28 meeting, Alice Blank, who chairs that panel’s Environmental Protection Committee, recapped a recent presentation by the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) by saying, “the only interesting thing about these slides was how few there were of them.”
“It was a surprisingly lean presentation,” she added, “that did not include any additional information beyond what was provided in a report in March.” Ms. Blank continued, “one third of a mile along the waterfront Esplanade of the Battery is to rebuilt and raised to estimated sea level rise of 2100 at a cost of $165 million. But there were no images or descriptions of the resiliency approach being taken here, which is called the ‘high-edge’ approach.”
In the parlance of resiliency engineers, the “high-edge” solution denotes raising the elevation of waterfront land, in order to create a barrier that will act as a berm to stop incoming flood waters, or rising sea levels. This contrasts with multiple other strategies, such as deployable barriers, which offer similar protection without the expense or disruption of changing the level of the ground.
“But there was no indication as to how this approach will impact views or waterfront access,” Ms. Blank observed. She noted that the EDC issued, on June 6, a request for proposals from engineering firms to begin designing resliency measures at the Battery, and that, “the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency expects the design process to be completed in two years. They also promised to come back to our committee in the early fall with schematic plans.”
In the meantime, she added, the EDC has undertaken emergency repair work on the structural underpinnings of the Battery’s Esplanade, with the goal of, “reconstructing and stabilizing the retaining wall and sea wall.” Conditions on the existing sea wall and pedestrian promenade in the Battery include sink holes, cracked concrete with exposed rebar, and deteriorating timber pile caps, according to the EDC.
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