By Matthew Fenton Daily Broadsheet
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has arranged an interim deferral for the shutdown of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC), which was originally scheduled to cease operations on December 31. The agency, created as a partnership between the City and State governments in 2004, is responsible for mitigating the impact of widespread construction in Lower Manhattan that began in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
After a December 26 meeting convened by Mr. Silver, which included Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye, elected officials representing Lower Manhattan, and Community Board 1 chair Catherine McVay Hughes, the Speaker announced that the LMCCC will continue operations, at least for the time being.
“The LMCCC is a vital resource for our community, which is why I have fought so hard for its survival,” Mr. Silver said. “I am heartened by a commitment from the Port Authority to keep key LMCCC personnel in place as discussions concerning the future of the LMCCC continue. I will keep working to ensure that the core mission of the LMCCC — providing crucial information about construction projects to Lower Manhattan residents and giving them a forum to express quality-of-life-concerns — is continued.”
Mr. Silver added that, “Lower Manhattan is still not yet even at the peak of construction activity and I have expressed to Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye how important it is that members of our community continue to have their concerns promptly addressed.”
After the December 26 meeting, Ms. Hughes said, “the dismantling of LMCCC with its staff and consultants has been postponed into the new year when the issue will be addressed again by the Governor, the new Mayor and the funding partners. The 90-plus major construction projects in 1.5 square miles will continue and it is critical that the impact of these public and private projects is minimized. We cannot afford to lose any more small businesses that support the community due to construction.”
Ms. Hughes added that the change in mayoral administrations has created “a revolving door among senior staff at City agencies. It is important that there is continuity during this time of transition and the LMCCC can provide that continuity.” She also noted that, “it is vital that the concerns of the residents and small business owners who have lived and worked through the 12-plus years of construction get an opportunity to make their voices heard.”
The LMCCC was created to coordinate the dozens of major construction projects that began in Lower Manhattan starting in the spring of 2002, and to minimize their impact on quality of life for people who live and work Downtown. In December, 2010, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and then-Governor David Patterson signed executive orders that gave the LMCCC a new lease on life for three years. That extended term expired on New Year’s Eve. It remains unclear how much longer the LMCCC will continue to function under the respite arranged by Mr. Silver. But a source close to the Speaker said that he is urging Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to renew the executive order that created it.
To visit the LMCCC website, click here.