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Manhattan Borough President To Give Final State Of The Borough Speech Thursday

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TWC News: Manhattan Borough President To Give Final State Of The Borough Speech Thursday
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On Thursday, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer will lay out his vision for his final year in office, but he'll also be making the case to be the city's next comptroller.

In his last address on the state of the borough of Manhattan Thursday, Scott Stringer will unveil a new initiative for the East River waterfront from 38th Street down to the Brooklyn Bridge overpass. It's called the Blueway Plan.

"We want to create waterfront access, but we also want to protect this community from the next storm surge," Stringer said.

Stringer's office began developing the plan with East Side Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh in 2010, well before Hurricane Sandy struck, devastating coastal areas.

The plan outlines protections, including new parkland on public space that could double as a buffer against a storm surge.

Stringer said he'll allocate $3.5 million to extend wetlands out from the existing shoreline to create a barrier. The idea is to protect critical infrastructure, such as the Con Edison substation that exploded during the storm.

"Rather than create concrete barriers that can be destroyed, is using plantings, wetlands to create a barrier to the island," Stringer said. "It's something that was used very successfully in New Orleans, and we think we can do the same thing here."

Much of the rest of his speech will focus on the city's financial health, which is no coincidence, considering that so far, Stringer is the only declared candidate for City Comptroller.

"You can't talk about your accomplishments as borough president without addressing the dire fiscal condition that many working people face in this city," Stringer said.

Baruch College Professor David Birdsell said this a chance for Stringer to carefully make his case for higher office.

"This can't be a campaign speech for comptroller," Birdsell said. "What it can be is an effort to try to portray his term as borough president as the most successful in the history of Manhattan, at a time when that has unique resonance for the comptroller's spot. That's the argument that he will try to make."

Stringer will give the speech at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the same place where he was sworn in as borough president.

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