The East River Blueway project is one step closer to becoming a reality now that the project has some cash to spend. Last week, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced that the project will proceed with $8 million in funding. The plan is to start beautifying the coast under the Brooklyn Bridge soon with a new beach, a salt marsh barrier island and a kayak and canoe launch.
Founding members of the project held a press conference on the esplanade underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. There, Quinn announced that the City Council of New York matched the $3.5 million allocation Stringer originally promised in February. Although the project only required $7 million to go through, Council Member Dan Gardonik provided an additional $1 million.
The additional funding will create a kayak and canoe launch along the Stuyvesant Cove that extends from East 18th to East 23rd Streets. Meanwhile the larger East River Blueway project calls for extensive work on the 4-mile long coast that stretches from 38th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge. WXY, who is in charge of the project, says this includes cleaning up the beach, an improved esplanade, and the reconstruction of piers for fishing and boating in the 11,000 square foot area.
Perhaps the most important part of the project isn’t even on the beach. There is also a plan for an newly constructed salt marsh to serve as a natural surge barrier against the storm flooding that East Side residents experienced during Hurricane Sandy. For now though we’re all still going to have to wait a bit longer, as there is still plenty to discuss in the 82 page proposal for the project before anyone even starts working on specific plans for development or timetables on actual construction.