Congressional grant solidifies plans to ID climate hazards, resilience strategies
By Jessica Meditz
A climate resilience plan is in the cards for Flushing Meadows–Corona Park (FMCP).
As part of a federal spending package to benefit 10 Queens community projects during the 2022 fiscal year, Waterfront Alliance will spearhead “Flushing Meadows Corona Park: A Hub for Climate Resilience” – a plan that’s slated to result in a set of concept-level designs and recommendations to reduce flooding, which would adapt the park for future climate challenges.
On a frigid Friday afternoon, District 6 Congresswoman Grace Meng was joined at the Unisphere by Waterfront Alliance team members, NYC Parks representatives and local conservationists to celebrate the $531,000 allocated for the project, as well as discuss the negative impacts of climate change.
Honing in on the importance of flood mitigation, Meng said this project will go a long way to help identify, assess and address areas in need of remediation.
She added that it will also increase public awareness about climate risks, build community participation, planning and infrastructure projects, as well as ensure that future plantings will be protected from extremely hot temperatures.
“Flushing Meadows–Corona Park was not exempt from [Hurricane Ida] as it suffered from excessive flooding. The severe weather underscored how real climate change is. It has been a gigantic wake up call for Queens, New York and the rest of the country, and more lives and property damage will be at risk from these types of natural disasters if we do not act,” Meng said. “We have to rebuild in a better, stronger and more equitable way for all in our communities and with greater resiliency than ever before. This wonderful project is an example of how we will be able to do that.”
Working with Queens community leaders, partners in city government and academia, Waterfront Alliance will provide tools and lead events to share and gather information that will culminate in a climate visioning for the park.
Cortney Koenig Worrall, president and CEO of Waterfront Alliance, brought up that FMCP was named by the Center for an Urban Future as the most-flooded park in the city alongside Forest Park – due to increasingly heavy rains.
She feels excited to create a preliminary set of designs that could turn into pilot projects, and thus be more eligible for federal and other funding.
“We’re studying this project so that it is designed to not sit on the shelf, that they can move forward and be implemented and constructed. We recognize how important it is for the community to be involved and engaged in all of this work. They have the answers to many of the solutions that we need,” Worrall said. “We’ll be dedicating a tremendous amount of time and effort in this project to engage all people you see here, as well as community members and others who may not consider themselves experts at all, but have expertise that we need to know in order to build the right projects.”