Earlier this year, elected officials and concerned locals gathered at Triskelion Arts (106 Calyer Street) in order to hear about how a major new plan designed to mitigate flooding would affect Greenpoint. Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented their findings from the NY & NJ Harbor & Tributaries Focus Area Feasibility Study, which included a plan to create flood barriers, levees, and seawalls along the New York and New Jersey shorelines.
“One of the proposed seawalls would cover over a mile of waterfront in northern Greenpoint,” we reported in March. “If the project moves forward — it still needs community buy-in and Congressional approval — construction is expected to begin in 2030 and take 14 years.” The plan will be an investment of $52 billion.
While creating infrastructure designed to bear the brunt of climate change is essential, many found the seawall solution to be inelegant, fearing it would render the open shoreline inaccessible to community members and impact Newtown Creek remediation efforts.
It’s a sentiment that many elected officials took to heart and has now led to action. Alongside the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 14 members of Congress and 38 New York State legislators signed onto a letter, including North Brooklyn’s own Rep. Nydia Velázquez and Assemblymember Emily Gallagher.
The letter triggers a review process, meaning that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must take a more holistic approach to examining the issue. “We are past due for large scale investment to protect our city from flooding,” said Willis Elkins, Executive Director of the Newtown Creek Alliance, in a statement to the Environmental Defense Fund, “but a multi-billion dollar investment needs to address all forms of flood risk and be done so in close conjunction with local communities to properly address their needs and concerns.”
Assemblymember Gallagher shared the news on Instagram, calling it “a significant breakthrough.”