The murky Pier 55 saga continues this week. In the latest convoluted chapter of this never-ending story, the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) has now received a permit modification approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move forward with construction on the 2.7-acre proposed park.
In March this year, a judge halted construction on the project, ordering a thorough review be conducted on the impact on marine life before the park moves forward. This stemmed from yet another lawsuit filed by the park’s main opponent, the City Club of New York.
Following the judge’s ruling, which put the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at fault for issuing the previous permit without requisite considerations, the Army Corps decided to appeal the ruling. At the same time the HRPT and Pier55 Inc. decided to amend their original application, hoping that the judge would be satisfied with this changed version, the New York Times reports.
The main point(s) of contention is the concrete filling that was meant to be used in some of the pilings that would hold up the pier, and a barge that would be docked next to the park. The developers of the park have decided to do away with this.
Both the Army Corps and the State Department of Environmental Conservation have signed off on this amended application. Don’t however expect the challenges to fade away anytime soon.
Following the revelation last month that developer Douglas Durst was funding the anti-park lawsuits, the future of the park has essentially become a battle between two billionaire developers, Durst, and Barry Diller, who along with his wife Diane Von Furstenberg, agreed to bear the cost of building the park. The Pier 55 project meanwhile has many prominent backers including Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“This is a major step forward for a new public park on our waterfront,” de Blasio, said in a statement. “It has been a bumpy road, but I look forward to the day when New Yorkers from across the city can come and enjoy this remarkable open space, and all the cultural and community programming it will offer.”
The lawyer for the City Club of New York told the Times that this new permit would likely result in a new challenge, as the changes made by the Park’s developers still did not properly address the impact on the wildlife.