By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Local elected officials and community leaders announced $8 million in funding for the East River Blueway Plan last Thursday morning, allocating $1 million for a kayak launch at Stuyvesant Cove Park and $7 million for the creation of Brooklyn Bridge Beach.
City Councilmember Dan Garodnick secured the funding for the kayak and canoe launch at Stuyvesant Cove Park, which stretches from East 18th to 23rd Streets in the East River.
“The Stuyvesant Cove boat launch will give East Siders a new low maintenance way to engage with their waterfront,” Garodnick said. “Paired with the already dynamic Solar One, this area will become one of the more innovative recreational spaces on the East Side.”
City Council matched the $3.5 million in capital funding that the borough president’s office had already raised, securing the $7 million in funding for the Brooklyn Bridge Beach. The beach is the first project of the East River Blueway Plan to receive funding since the proposal was developed by Borough President Scott Stringer, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and WXY architecture + urban design earlier this year.
Stringer said that the funds raised would be used as a down payment to develop the 11,000 s/f of space under the Brooklyn Bridge, but he said that there is still no estimate on the project’s cost or a timeline for when it will be completed, although he hinted that the project would receive more funding for storm prevention. “There’s also $15 billion from the federal government to deal with damage from Sandy and protect our city from the next surge,” he said.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined Stringer and other elected officials for the announcement, and emphasized the importance of using the waterfront to the city’s advantage.
“The project is important for storm protection and this is a big step in the continued efforts to revitalize the waterfront,” said Quinn.
In addition to the kayak and canoe launch proposed for Stuyvesant Cove Park, the Brooklyn Bridge Beach will have boating available as well, in addition to fishing piers, concession stands and terraced seating.
The beach will be protected from future storms through salt marsh planters and wetlands, as well as stone ripraps and wave attenuation walls to absorb the impact energy of waves.