Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the New York State Hurricane Maria Memorial Commission has begun its search for the architects and artists who will design and execute a Hurricane Maria memorial honoring the victims and survivors of Hurricane Maria and the resilience of the Puerto Rican community. Governor Cuomo announced this monument and established this commission on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria's landfall in September 2017.
"Hurricane Maria claimed thousands of lives and destroyed countless homes in Puerto Rico, yet the resilience of the Puerto Rican community has shown the world anything can be overcome when we all stand together in solidarity," Governor Cuomo said. "We want this spirit of strength and community to be reflected in the Hurricane Maria Memorial, and we look forward to seeing how the experts capture it in their designs."
Experienced architects and artists are invited to submit a response to the request for proposal. Submissions must be completed and submitted online by Monday, September 9, 2019 before 11:59 p.m. EST. Interested architects and artists should visit www.ny.gov/HurricaneMariaMemorial.
The Hurricane Maria Memorial Commission will review and select finalists from the submitted proposals. The Commission will recommend architects and artists to the Governor for his final selection in September. The budget for design and fabrication of the memorial site and artwork is approximately $700,000.
On the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria's landfall in September 2018, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 189 establishing the Hurricane Maria Memorial Commission. The Commission is comprised of ten members appointed by the Governor, and is overseen and coordinated by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Congressman Jose E. Serrano, Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, Assembly Member Maritza Davila, and New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado.
Hurricane Maria Memorial Commission members include:
Tonio Burgos, CEO, Tonio Burgos & Associates
Edwin Meléndez, Director, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College
Dennis Rivera, Former President, 1199/SEIU
Casimiro D. Rodriguez, Sr., President, Hispanic Heritage Council of Western NY
Dr. Havidán Rodriguez, President, University at Albany
Santos Rodriguez, Director of Community Affairs & Strategic Initiatives, Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
Hilda Rosario Escher, Former President & CEO, Ibero American Action League
Teresa A. Santiago, Chairperson, ComitéNoviembre
Brenda Torres, Executive Director, Corporation for the Conservation of the San Juan Bay Estuary
Elizabeth Velez, President, The Velez Organization, Resident of Battery Park City
The selected artist and/or architect will be required to work with the Battery Park City Authority's designated project management team.
Battery Park City Authority President & CEO B.J. Jones said, "We are honored to site the Hurricane Maria Memorial in Battery Park City, made especially poignant as we proceed with our own resiliency infrastructure projects, designed to combat and overcome the threats presented by extreme weather. We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo, the Commission, and the winning artists/architects on a monument that honors and pays tribute to the Puerto Rican community and our collective resolve."
New York State's Ongoing Efforts to Support Puerto Rico
Since Hurricane Maria's landfall in September 2017, Governor Cuomo has traveled to Puerto Rico five times and has continuously directed critical resources to communities in need. In the immediate aftermath, New York established the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort, ultimately distributing at least 4,400 pallets of supplies collected from 13 donation sites across the state. New York State also deployed more than 1,000 personnel, including hundreds of utility workers and power experts to help with power restoration and grid stabilization.
Under the Governor's leadership, New York State has dedicated approximately $13 million to support the more than 11,000 displaced Hurricane Maria victims living in New York. As part of the commitment, an initial investment of $2 million will go to partnering organizations who connect vulnerable Puerto Ricans to needed services such as employment, housing, benefits counseling and health care. Governor Cuomo has also committed up to $11 million dollars in housing and workforce funding for displaced Puerto Ricans: a $1 million program to provide robust case management services to displaced Puerto Ricans, and up to $10 million in job training and placement.
Governor Cuomo and the New York Congressional Delegation continue to advocate for Puerto Rico to receive essential federal assistance. In 2017, Governor Cuomo along with members of the New York Congressional Delegation and with Puerto Rican elected officials issued a Build Back Better Assessment Report. The report identified specific sectors needing investments, including housing, power grid and resiliency, and agriculture, among others. Together with $487 million for public safety and first response aid and $9 billion for long-term recovery management, the total funding need is $94.4 billion.
After the 2018 summer, Governor Cuomo announced the successful completion of the summer-long NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative. Throughout the summer, more than 650 SUNY and CUNY students, as well as skilled labor volunteers, traveled to island communities still recovering from Hurricanes Maria and Irma to provide assistance to those in need. Over the course of five deployments, volunteers logged in nearly 41,000 hours cleaning, restoring, and rebuilding homes. The goal to renovate 150 homes was far exceeded, with a total of 178 homes restored over 10 weeks. The Governor has continued deployments of SUNY and CUNY students to aid in the recovery efforts throughout summer 2019.
Under the direction of Governor Cuomo, SUNY's and CUNY's respective Board of Trustees passed resolutions in the fall of 2017 authorizing campuses to provide students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands impacted by hurricanes Maria and Irma with the ability to pay tuition at the in-state rate for the 2017-2018 academic year. Both systems renewed the granting of in-state tuition for the 2018-2019.
For more information about the recovery and relief efforts underway in Puerto Rico please visit the Governor's Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands webpage.