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Senator Charles Schumer and state Senator Daniel Squadron made the Nov. 18 announcement with local officials at the East River pier currently being used for public parking between Gouverneur and Jackson Sts.
The work, including a master planning process and demolition of the abandoned shed, will start this spring. A temporary public park area could open by the fall, Squadron said.
Schumer and Squadron had called on the L.M.D.C. in November of last year to release what was left of the $20.4 billion that Schumer secured for Lower Manhattan in the wake of the World Trade Center attack.
The L.M.D.C., the Port Authority and the Bloomberg administration agreed earlier this month to free the funds to jumpstart the first phase of the project.
“The redevelopment of Pier 42 and completion of the East River waterfront park will be a green ribbon that nicely wraps around a booming and bustling Lower Manhattan that has risen from the ashes of September 11,” said Schumer, who thanked Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg and the L.M.D.C. for making it happen.
Schumer and Squadron had called on the L.M.D.C. to fund the East River waterfront revitalization after the city ran short of funds for the project last year.
A complete green connection around Lower Manhattan between Hudson River Park and East River Park would cost about $40 million, which could come from whatever L.M.D.C. funds remain and from the city in the future, Squadron said.
“This $14 million will allow creation of open space and comprehensive planning to move forward now,” Squadron said.
Judy Rapfogel, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s chief aide, delivered Silver’s remarks at the Nov. 18 event. “Our community has been fighting for years for better access to the East River waterfront,” she said. “Today’s announcement marks a critical milestone in realizing a public open green space along the river that will connect the east and west sides of Lower Manhattan.”
City Councilmember Margaret Chin hailed the funding for the revitalization of Pier 42.
“This is truly a victory for the Lower East Side,” she said.
Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3, noted that the board voted in October to ask for funding to remove the shed and to create public access to the waterfront on Pier 42. Funding for the project was at the top of the C.B. 3 capital priorities for the district this year.
Another structure, Pier 36 south of Pier 42, has been leased by the city’s Economic Development Corporation to Basketball City, a commercial venture, which is installing basketball and volleyball courts to be rented by the hour to corporate teams.
The entire East River pier complex between Clinton and Jackson Sts. used to be known as the “Banana Pier” because United Fruit Company ships unloaded cargo there.