Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin is backing lower Manhattan residents blasting a proposed resilience project approved by the Battery Park City Authority — which is controlled by Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“Local residents have pointed out that Wagner Park was not affected by severe flooding during Superstorm Sandy. Others have raised concerns about the exorbitant cost,” Zeldin said on Wednesday.
“Until these concerns and more are addressed, the project should not move forward,” he said.
According to the Battery Park City Authority, construction is expected to begin in the coming weeks.
Officials say the overhaul is key to the $221 million South Battery Park City Resiliency Project, which aims to protect Manhattan from rising sea levels and natural disasters, especially amid the growing threat of storms fueled by climate change.
The project would accomplish this by converting the current relatively flat park into a hilly flood barrier adjacent to the existing Esplanade, an approach similar to efforts on Manhattan’s East Side, which have also been pushed back by residents to protect existing parks.
And the agency has muted criticism from some critics like Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Rep. Yuh-Line Niou and state Senator Brian Kavanagh through changes announced last month.
“After more than three dozen public meetings on the project, held over nearly six years, we are proud to be moving forward with a plan that prioritizes science, has broad local support, and is directly informed by that community feedback — including the recently added 74 percent more turf area for Wagner Park,” said Nick Sbordone, a spokesman for Battery Park City Authority, in a statement.
But some local residents remain opposed to the plan – and they hope Zeldin’s involvement could help them spur Hochul to take action to halt construction ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
“We are very pleased that our efforts have garnered the support of Congressman Lee Zeldin. We’re also hoping for support – and intervention – from his opponent in the gubernatorial race. Governor Hochul should recognize that this is a major voting issue for people throughout Lower Manhattan,” said Britni Erez, board member of the Battery Park City Neighborhood Association, in a statement.
“She should stop this ill-conceived plan before it ruins our park and help us create a better, science-based resilience plan,” the statement adds.
Hochul officials did not respond to a request for comment as of publication.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/07/lee-zeldin-joins-locals-fighting-battery-park-city-waterfront-project/ Lee Zeldin joins the locals fighting against Battery Park City’s waterfront project