Kavanagh and Stringer Awarded Substantial Grant for East Side Waterfront

January 8, 2010

New York, NY – Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer announced receipt of a $650,000 grant for Manhattan’s East Side through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. The State Department of State (DOS) awarded the funding to support a community process to plan for greater access to the waterfront along the East River from East 38th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge. The goal of the process is to create a veritable “water trail” – sometimes known as a “blueway” – with various access points and recreational and educational opportunities up and down the four-mile stretch of the river.

Kavanagh and Stringer, in conjunction with other elected officials and community leaders including Councilmember Dan Garodnick, Community Board 6, Friends of the Pier at Stuyvesant Cove, and the Lower East Side Ecology Center, worked collaboratively on the application for the funding.

“This is a victory for our community and a significant opportunity to take full advantage of our waterfront, which has long lacked the attention it deserves. The communities that stretch from East Midtown to the Lower East Side are among those with the least green space in this city and this lack of open space is exacerbated by the limited access to the river that forms the eastern boundary of our neighborhoods,” said Kavanagh. “We are determined to bring together the resources needed to change this, and the EPF grant we’re announcing today is a huge step in the right direction.”

“This grant represents a well deserved reinvestment in Manhattan's East Side waterfront, a project that dedicated local residents have been urging for decades,” said Stringer. “This strip of the East River stretches across four miles of Manhattan and includes the banks of three of our city's historic bridges. With the support of the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, I look forward to launching a new, blue chapter for our urban island with the hundreds of East Siders who worked to make this a reality.”

“Although Manhattan is an island, for too long we have turned our backs on the rivers that surround us. This grant is a significant boon to East Side residents and all New Yorkers who will be able to reconnect with the waterfront and gain much needed open space,” said U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “I am excited about the potential for a ‘blueway’ and committed to working with local representatives and area residents on its development.”

“The East River waterfront is a real jewel of Lower Manhattan that needs our constant support and stewardship. For over 20 years I have worked with the community, fighting for access to the waterfront, and I commend Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for their work in forging ahead,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “I look forward to working with them and the community in planning the exciting future of safe and fun waterfront access along the East River.”

“The East Midtown and Lower East Side communities should be proud of their efforts to shape the future of the East River waterfront in Manhattan,” said State Senator Thomas K. Duane. “This funding represents a determined step toward the goal of an uninterrupted, user-friendly, truly accessible East Side waterfront park that can be enjoyed for years to come.”

“Giving the community a real voice in the development of the East River Waterfront is an incredibly important part of increasing connectivity and recreational access in Lower Manhattan and the Lower East Side,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “Securing this grant is a huge milestone in making our vision of a state-of-the art Harbor Park a reality.”

“The East River should be more than just something to look at from the FDR Drive or to cross by bridge – and this grant will help us transform that experience,” said Garodnick. “By opening up access to the waterfront, New Yorkers will gain a four-mile long park in an area that badly needs open space.”

Dominic Pisciotta, Chair of Community Board Three said, “The grant is incredibly important to keep up the momentum for revitalizing the East River Park and including the park as part of a statewide effort is very exciting.”

“After years of hard work by Community Board Six, the residents and our elected officials, we are excited to receive funding that will help create access to the East River waterfront,” said Mark Thompson, Chair of Community Board Six. “We fought to create Stuyvesant Cove Park and can finally envision a completed chain of waterfront parks. This award will bring vitality to one of Manhattan’s most important and most neglected assets.”

The grant is part of a total of $23.8 million in EPF funding awarded for a variety of planning, design, and construction projects across New York State that focus on economic, community, environmental, and recreational improvements.