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Community Vexed Over Execution of Resilient Storm Design

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Some Lower East Side residents are concerned over the anticipated execution of the resilient design project that is supposed to save the low-lying neighborhood from flooding during future storms. The Low Down reports that at a Community Board 3 meeting last night, residents voiced their concerns over how Bjarke Ingels's proposed sea berm project would transition from concept to reality, and who it would serve.

Ingels's proposal was the big winner of Rebuild By Design, taking $335 million of the $920 million allotted to the six winning proposals that present resilient coastal designs for a post-Sandy city and its surrounds. The concept for Ingels's project is this: Big U is a sea berm comprised of a series of sloping hills and bridges that lead from FDR to the East River. While Ingels's project was granted far and away more funds than the other five projects, $335 million is not nearly enough to see the whole vision through.

It is enough, however, to finish Phase 1, which will protect the area between 23rd Street and Montgomery Street. Left out from the proposal entirely, unknown to active and vocal community groups, is the area of Two Bridges and immediately south. Ingels's firm worked closely with a group of LES residents through LES Ready!, who majorly impacted the proposal's design. Now, they're urging to be let back into the planning process.

On top of figuring out where additional funds for the project will come from, it seems the city has to figure out how to let the community impact the project too. Big U is now in the phases of transitioning from concept to reality, with an RFP out for preliminary design consultants who will contribute to a plan submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. "We need to be involved in the planning process," Damaris Reyes, the executive director of Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) and chairperson of LES Ready! said at the CB3 meeting, "it's a slap in the face that we got this far and we're not even part of the discussions beyond this public setting."
· City's Outreach on East River Berm Project Called Lacking, "Slap in the Face" [TLD]
· These Winning Proposals Will Avert Damage From Sandy 2.0 [Curbed]
· All Rebuild By Design coverage [Curbed]