Post-Sandy initiative putting residents’ views ‘on the map’

BY SAM SPOKONY  |  A new interactive, online map is helping Downtown residents provide input on post-Hurricane Sandy community reconstruction.

The New York Rising program, an outgrowth of Governor Cuomo’s Office of Storm Recovery, now features interactive maps for six communities involved in the statewide effort, one of which focuses on Manhattan south of 14th St.

The Lower Manhattan map can be accessed by visiting Visitors to the site can identify and label key neighborhood locations, including residential buildings, commercial centers, infrastructure systems and city parks. Residents are also able to highlight areas they believe contain particularly vulnerable populations, and they can provide additional input by writing comments on each location.

“As a member of New York Rising’s Lower Manhattan Planning Committee, I’ve been actively trying to ensure that the consultants hired by the state have, and use, the most accurate information about our neighborhood,” said Kerri Culhane, associate director of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, whose presence is already being felt on the interactive map. “This process is intended to be community-driven, and I encourage anyone with computer access to review the map and add comments.”

Residents who want to get involved in that process can also attend New York Rising’s second public meeting for Lower Manhattan, which will take place at University Settlement’s Houston St. Center, at 273 Bowery, on Mon., Dec. 2, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Lower Manhattan Planning Committee hopes to produce a final plan by March 2014, which will help decide how up to $25 million in state funding should be used to rebuild parts of the neighborhood that were affected by Hurricane Sandy, and to build resilience against future storms.

The committee is co-chaired by Catherine McVay-Hughes, the chairperson of Community Board 1, and Dan Ackerman, the chief of staff for the Downtown Alliance business improvement district.

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