Aerial photograph of Liberty Island with a circle around the housing units on the left side of the picture.

Liberty Island Housing Demolition Project Description

The National Park Service proposes to demolish three housing units at Liberty Island that were severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, and would welcome any comments you may have upon the project and its effects to historic properties and the human environment as part of scoping for the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

Buildings 42, 43, and 44 - the Superintendent's House, a duplex, and a triplex - were built as housing in the 1950s, are situated in the administrative area at the north end of Liberty Island, and suffered major damage from the storm. At the time of Sandy, only the Superintendent's House was still used for that purpose; the other two were used for a variety of staff support functions. The buildings lie within the 100-year floodplain, with the first floors two feet below the 100-year-flood elevation. Post-Sandy construction guidelines within the National Park Service call for occupied first floors to be at least one foot above the 100-year-flood elevation. The triplex is only one story tall, making the entire building unsuitable for future occupation. The other two are two stories in height, meaning that the second floor could be used. However, the buildings also lie within a wave velocity zone, and the safety and code requirements required to reinforce the first floors and make the second floors habitable are extremely costly (over $1000 per square foot), and would only provide a small amount of useable space.

Rather than allowing the buildings to fall derelict, putting other buildings at risk from debris in a future storm, the park believes that demolition is the most reasonable option. After the removal of the buildings, the area would be replanted with grass.

The Statue of Liberty was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981, and the park is currently engaged in an effort to list the entire island. It is likely that the housing units are eligible for listing on the National Register as part of an historic district. For the purposes of compliance with NHPA for this action, we are treating the buildings as historic. Therefore, we have developed an agreement with the State Historic Preservation Office to mitigate the adverse effect from the demolition of the buildings. The draft memorandum of agreement, which is available below, outlines the measures that the park will proposes to undertake as mitigation. This includes taking photographs of the buildings' features and gathering drawings and a short history, according to the standards of the Historic American Buildings Survey program, and preparing information for the park's webpage about the effects of Hurricane Sandy and how the park is seeking a more sustainable and resilient future.

Currently, NPS is proposing to draft a categorical exclusion for NEPA compliance for this project and will also be collecting any comments about this course of action.

Comments on the action are welcomed. To add a comment, select "Open for Comment" on the left sidebar of this page. On the next page titled "Documents Open For Review " select "Comment Now" link. We encourage you to use the comment link, but comments will also be accepted at the mailing address below.
Comment Period: Closed        Jan 28, 2015 - Feb 20, 2015
Document Content:
Liberty Island Housing Location.jpgLiberty Island Housing Location.jpg   (687.1 KB, Image file)
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