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Press release content from Business Wire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Cannon Point Preservation Corporation Sues City in Effort to Save Neighborhood Pocket Park

March 28, 2019

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar 28, 2019--Cannon Point Preservation Corporation, a community group, has filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court against the City of New York and several government agencies in an effort to halt the construction of a bridge for pedestrians, bicycles, and other small vehicles that would severely harm a neighborhood park, and pose significant public safety concerns.

In addition to issues raised in the lawsuit, Cannon Point believes that the bridge represents a serious misuse of public funds at a time when City agencies are facing budget cuts.

The suit claims that the City’s Public Design Commission wrongly concluded that the bridge would have ‘no adverse effects’ on its surrounding environment and neighborhood character.

The bridge would emanate from Sutton Place South at East 54 th Street and cross over the FDR Drive to an as-yet-unbuilt portion of the Esplanade along the East River. The plan would place the bridge inside Clara Coffey Park. The structure would occupy one-quarter of the park, robbing it of light and air, and significant open space.

Cannon Point president and chairman James P. Donovan said, “The City was not candid with the community about its intentions and the effect of this construction on neighborhood quality of life. There is going to be a significant environmental impact, bringing a huge influx of bikes, scooters and other wheeled devices to a quiet area. Indeed, the bridge will transform a beloved public park into the southern terminus of the Esplanade’s East Midtown portion.”

Cannon Point also claims the project violates state law because it would permanently alienate dedicated park space for transportation uses, which the City cannot do without the express permission of the State legislature.

Randy M. Mastro of the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, representing Cannon Point, stated, “The plan was to provide points of access to the esplanade, but there was no mention of the use of parkland to do so and no adequate review of the bridge’s significant environmental impacts. Moreover, alienating this dedicated parkland absent the New York State Legislature’s prior approval for the non-park purpose of constructing the bridge violates the Public Trust Doctrine.”

According to Cannon Point, the City plans to spend $100 million in public funds to build the bridge and extend the Esplanade seven blocks from the East 60s to E. 53 rd Street.

“We also question the logic of the City to spend $100 million on this at a time when the project and its plans are incomplete and these funds could be put to better use. The Department of Education budget will be cut by $100 million next year. People are living in public housing without heat and hot water. Wouldn’t education and housing be a higher and better purpose to serve with that amount of funding?” Donovan added.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190328005695/en/

CONTACT: Richard Edmonds, 212-329-1437




SOURCE: Cannon Point Preservation Corporation

Copyright Business Wire 2019.

PUB: 03/28/2019 12:17 PM/DISC: 03/28/2019 12:17 PM