Our Town Funding Deal for Esplanade by Daniel Fitzsimmons
Money will come in part from the Hospital for Special Surgery
The Hospital for Special Surgery has agreed to steward a maintenance fund for the East River Esplanade, a deal which was secured by City Councilmember Ben Kallos and U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
HSS agreed to invest in the East River Esplanade as part of a favorable land use vote held recently by the city council. The hospital will repair and maintain a two-block stretch of the esplanade and, in a partnership with Rockefeller University that’s being led by Kallos, will work with key community stakeholders to develop a master plan for the esplanade from 62nd Street to 78th Street.
Rockefeller University previously agreed to maintain a $1 million trust to care for the esplanade in perpetuity.
The partnership will kick off with a community visioning session, though a Kallos spokesperson said a date for that event has not yet been set.
The deal includes the installation of eight-foot noise barriers under the hospital’s East Wing Building between East 70th and East 71st Street, where they’re constructing three new inpatient operating rooms to meet increasing patient demand.
The Hospital for Special Surgery will also provide a water fountain for the esplanade at 71st Street and irrigation to keep plants alive, and will repair and replace lighting and railings, as well as provide new seating between East 70th Street and East 72nd Street. The deal includes maintenance in perpetuity for all improvements on the esplanade along those blocks.
Kallos’ office said the deal follows $35 million that he negotiated into last year’s final budget and $18 million from other investment sources. Kallos co-chairs the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Maloney, and both are ex-officio board members of Friends of the East River Esplanade, a conservancy.
“The esplanade is a beautiful resource for the community, but it urgently needs some TLC,” said Maloney. “As HSS expands its operations in a way that will significantly affect residents, I am delighted they have agreed to make concrete contributions to an amenity that needs support. I am looking forward to seeing the positive changes.”
Kallos said the renovation will include “fair investments” in the esplanade to revitalize the East River waterfront.
“Generous improvements to the esplanade from 70th to 72nd and investment in the East River Esplanade Conservancy’s success will be one piece of the strategy to maintain and improve our esplanade for all to enjoy, now and in the future,” said Kallos.
Lisa Goldstein, CEO of the Hospital for Special Surgery, said the institution is pleased to invest in a community asset as they expand.
“We look forward to working with Council Member Kallos, Friends of the East River Esplanade, and the City of New York to enhance this wonderful neighborhood resource,” she said.