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NYC Health+Hospitals, NYCEDC celebrate groundbreaking flood wall resiliency project

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NYC Health + Hospitals, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray, and community stakeholders has celebrated the groundbreaking flood protection system at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan in East Harlem.
The Metropolitan Hospital Flood Wall Resiliency Project, which was initiated by NYC Health + Hospitals and NYCEDC is aimed at addressing flooding vulnerabilities on the hospital campus. 

This was disclosed in a statement on Wednesday May 25, 2022.

According the statement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funded the $120 million project, which includes the construction of a perimeter flood wall and an upgraded storm water pumping system. 

"Both will help better protect the hospital and surrounding area from significant flooding caused by heavy rain and storm surge," the statement reads.

"The hospital will now be able to withstand a 500-year flood, according to FEMA. The flood wall varies in height from 8 feet to 12 feet and includes new entrance openings with resilient floodgates of up to 35 feet in width." 

Speaking about the project, New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, stated that "the climate crisis is here, and we must ensure that New York City is ready for more frequent and more extreme weather events, especially at critical infrastructure sites, like our hospitals."

Adams added, “This flood resiliency project shows federal, state, and city government partnership at its best — getting stuff done to protect New Yorkers.

"This flood wall will ensure the health care heroes at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan can continue fully serving their patients and helping them get better for generations to come.” 

“We are grateful for the partnership with both the federal and local government to build a stronger and more resilient protection for our hospital,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan Chief Executive Officer Cristina Contreras.

 “This comprehensive and innovative infrastructure project will mitigate the weaknesses exposed by Superstorm Sandy and provide our staff with the peace of mind of knowing that if we should experience any future natural weather disasters, the hospital and the community will be protected, and they can focus on what they do best – providing high-quality care for our patients and their families.” 

NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD, said, “This is an exciting moment for Metropolitan as we continue to protect our health care system from extreme weather events that are happening more and more frequently.”  

“Metropolitan’s critical electrical systems were damaged by contaminated floodwaters during Superstorm Sandy. This flood protection system around the hospital campus will minimize risk to public health by allowing us to continue serving our patients and the East Harlem community during and after future storms.” 

“NYCEDC shares the mayor’s commitment to taking bold action against climate change by building sustainable infrastructure that protects New Yorkers,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball.

“We are proud to work with our federal and city partners to oversee the construction of this project at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, which will safeguard the hospital and allow our healthcare workers to focus on patient care.”

The project’s protective measures will prevent future flood waters from reaching the hospital, minimizing damage to infrastructure and allowing the facility to recover and resume operations quickly after storm events. 

The project will reconfigure areas of the hospital campus to support the flood mitigation system, while allowing for hospital functionality, public accessibility, and emergency vehicle access. Improvements will be made to protect loading docks, harden the hospital basement’s walls, and relocate hospital services.

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