LOWER MANHATTAN — The city plans to invest $100 million to create new storm protections for Lower Manhattan, nearly three years after Hurricane Sandy overwhelmed the area with fast-moving floods, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.
The new storm barriers — which could include deployable flood walls, levies and raising the coastline with parkland — would stretch from Montgomery Street in the Lower East Side around the tip of Manhattan, up to Battery Park City, officials said.
The city will release a request for proposals next month for design and engineering firms to come up with specific storm protection measures.
De Blasio said the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina brings the importance of the effort into focus.
"It’s probably one of the greatest national wakeup calls we’ve ever experienced about a lot of things, and one of them was the impact of global warming and what it’s doing to all of us," de Blasio said about the storm that hit New Orleans.
"So we learned some painful lessons from Katrina; we learned some painful lessons from Sandy – we’re trying do something about those lessons because we have not solved global warming. We know that."
The investment is also part of a push to secure an additional $500 million in federal funding for resiliency measures, said Daniel Zarrilli, director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency.
The city is part of a competition from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for national disaster relief funds and officials said the new investment and storm protection plans could bolster the city's application, and its chance at the $500 million.
The city received $335 million last year for resiliency efforts between East 23rd Street and Montgomery Street. The new money will take those measures further south "from Montgomery Street around the tip of the Battery, and up to the north end of Battery Park City," and hopefully win the city more funds to develop a larger project, Zarrilli said.
The storm protections are expected to take about five to seven years to build and will be done via a community design process.
"We’re trying not to wall ourselves off from the waterfront...but be able to provide that flood protection when needed," Zarrilli said when asked about specifics of the flood protection design.
"We’re going to go through a design process with the community to do that, and we’ll decide on exact locations as we go," he added.
Floodwaters inundated much of Lower Manhattan when Sandy battered the city in October 2012, leaving buildings damaged and closed for months.
“While we take steps to address the root causes of climate change, we have to protect the assets we already have," said Community Board 1 chairwoman Catherine McVay Hughes in a statement.
"We learned from Sandy that when Lower Manhattan is inundated, all of New York and the entire tri-state area feel the pain — work places are closed, transit shuts down, and the economic engine of our prosperity shuts down. This $100 million is the first real step on a road to keeping that engine running.”