By Carol Tannenhauser
Riverside Park has been awarded $11.5 million by Mayor Bill de Blasio to address current and future drainage and flooding problems in the northern part of the park, according to a press release issued by NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver on Thursday. The flooding is sometimes so bad that engineers worry it could affect the train tunnel below.
“The drainage infrastructure in Riverside Park dates back to the 1930s and has not received a significant investment until now,” the release stated. “The deterioration of these systems has affected the park’s usability, including damaging staircases and other access points; contributed to erosion; and created an appearance of disrepair in the park.”
The mayor’s investment will fund a comprehensive engineering study, to be conducted in the summer of 2020, of the park’s storm water drainage systems, current and future capacity requirements, and strategies for long-term maintenance. Restorative work in the most flood-prone areas of the park, between 108th and 116th Streets, is scheduled to begin in 2022. The park-wide study will also identify drainage problems in other areas of the park with cost estimates to inform future projects, according to the release.
“The historically underserved northern areas of Riverside Park that span the communities of Morningside Heights, West Harlem, and Washington Heights have seen inadequate investment from the City for years and needed urgent help,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “This significant investment from the de Blasio Administration and the Parks Commissioner…will ensure that Riverside Park will continue to be a cornerstone of inclusion and equity for all New Yorkers.”