Monday, May 18, 2009

Report From RIOC's President - New Director, Southpoint Groundbreaking, FERI Meeting, Tram Birthday, New Bus Schedule & Other Roosevelt Island Issues

Image From RIOC

RIOC President Steve Shane sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Mr. Shane addresses issues on
1. Board of Directors: Meeting of May 14, 2009 with a Town Hall meeting following. Mr. Howard Polivy’s appointment by the Governor and Senate confirmation completed. Mr. Polivy will occupy the seat that was held by Michael Shinozaki. With Charlee Miller’s announced intention to retire from the Board at the end of her appointed term in June, new nominees will be needed. RIRA’s election on May 19 should produce candidates.

2. Southpoint: A press event commemorating the completion of the preservation of the Renwick Ruin and the start of Green Rooms/Wild Gardens is scheduled for May 28, 2009. As to the projects:
(A) Renwick Ruins: Stabilization work is complete and the entrances to the building will be boarded up to secure the interior and prevent trespassing.
(B) Green Rooms/Wild Gardens: The contractor has started rough grading, paths and stone walls. Phase 2 will be the finish grading and capping of the site, utilities, fencing and planting.
(C) FDR Memorial: FERI is working on engineering and permitting with DEC, Army Corp. of Engineers, Coastguard, etc. FERI has delivered its Environmental Analysis to RIOC as lead agency and our consultants are reviewing for completeness as part of the SEQRA process. As soon as it is in final form, it will be published to the community and we would like to schedule a public meeting for May 27, 2009 at 7PM at Good Shepherd for the FERI group to present their project and answer questions. If all the deliverables required under the Conditional Designation Agreement are in hand, the Board could make its final determination at the June 25th meeting. RIOC has been in consultation with the State’s Division of the Budget and Parks Department to work out funding mechanics for the $4 million State appropriation to RIOC, conditioned on a matching $4 million from the City and at least $8 million from FERI as necessary to complete phase 1. After the permitting process, much remains to be resolved, including coordination of funding and supervision among State Parks, NYC Parks, RIOC and FERI during both development and thereafter, before bringing the project back to the Board.

3. Tram: The birthday of the Tram will be celebrated on Monday afternoon, May 18th from 3-6. Cake will be served and a videographer will interview residents for Tram stories. On schedule for a July 6, 2009 shutdown and December reopening, although the Contractor, POMA, may request a shift in the window of closure to accommodate redesign changes in the structural elements. Work is underway on design and fabrication. Spools of cable are soon to be shipped from Europe. Final details of cabin design are being completed. Scheduling of tower reinforcing and top replacement, cable pulling, street and park closures, crane locations, etc. with permitting for everything is ongoing. Met again with Community Board 8 on May 5. CB 8 will be holding its meeting on the Island at Good Shepherd at 6:30. Architectural work for Tram stations is proceeding. A preliminary sketch of the Manhattan station is posted. Studies of present day code requirements (ADA, fire, electrical, lighting, access & egress, communications, security, HVAC and sprinklers for sub-grade rooms, wind, rain and snow barriers, etc.) as applied to both stations is in the works.

4. Subway: MTA has put out notices that due to emergency track work, trains will be slowed down, reducing the rush hour schedule by two trains, increasing the degree of difficulty when the tram will be out of service from July 6 to mid December. Despite our questioning, there is apparently no good answer to the inconvenience and discomfort.

5. Projects: Work is ongoing to replace the exterior of the AVAC building, install replacement chambers for AVAC, lighting at Motorgate, repave portions of Main Street, replace the fa├žade at Sportspark and make improvements to PSD. Public Safety has temporarily relocated to 504 Main Street while the work is being done. The Board agenda will include replacing the HVAC system for Good Shepherd, AVAC exterior, fire alarm system at Sportspark, swimming pool resurfacing, and architects for the new Tram Park.

6. Bank: RIOC has received no response to its letter in answer to the notice from NYNB that it intends to close its branch at 615 Main Street on June 6, 2009. We have met with Amalgamated and supplied a letter of support for application to the State Banking Department to allow Amalgamated to open a branch. All signs seem positive.

There's More!




7. Southtown Buildings 5 and 6 moving toward completion. Landscaping being done and interior finishes and fixtures being installed. The roadway in front of the Tram is scheduled for paving and the fountain in the turnaround will follow.

8. The Mobile Van for Free Mammograms will be making a return visit on May 30th. If interested in scheduling an appointment, call Erica Wilder at our office (212) 832-4540.

9. Blackwell Park Playground: In response to the request of some parents, we have emphasized the purpose of the tot playground by increased Public Safety presence to discourage older people from hanging out at the area. No adults unaccompanied by an age appropriate youngster will be permitted.

10. Bicycles: To clear what is becoming an increasing problem, the bike rack at the subway station will have notices posted that leaving bikes overnight will not be permitted. After 2AM and before 5AM, Public Safety will remove bikes to increase availability for those who utilize the space as intended. If not reclaimed at Public Safety within 24 hours, the bikes will be donated.

11. July 4 Fireworks: With the City’s decision to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s sail by moving the fireworks to the Hudson, RIOC’s annual July 4th fireworks watching is not going to happen. We are, however, asked to host the fireworks to accompany the 100th birthday of the Queensboro Bridge to be on the evening of May 31. Stay tuned for further details.

12. Health & Fitness Day this Saturday, May 16. Commendation Ceremony for Public Safety Officers at 11:30 at the 591 plaza. Basketball and ping pong tournaments, games and exhibitions to follow. Everyone come out for the afternoon of fun.

13. Public Safety: Director Keith Guerra, Deputy Director Rene Bryan and Captain Estrella Suarez have all completed the FBI course in Major Incident Management as sponsored by the New York Office Police Training Program. Congrats to them.
During Health & Fitness Day, PSD will be sponsoring a child seat safety inspection at the Gristede’s turnaround. Bring your car and child seat. If you do not have one, they will be available without charge, but a donation would be appreciated.

14. Red Bus: Having been studied by the Columbia and Hunter students, and being the continuing source of complaint from some Island residents, RIOC has agreed with RIRA to try an experiment in scheduling to see whether there is an improvement in service. We met with Frank Farance and “discussed” the issues of Main Street and how to better serve the public. We are going to try, during the week of May 18 to 22 to schedule the three red buses on the route from approximately 10 to 11:30 so as to leave the Octagon at 9:55, 10:10, 10:25, 10:40, 10:55, 11:10 and 11:25. Each bus will wait at the Tram to pick up the passengers and return northbound. A 45 minute loop is built in to account for unpredictable event along the way. Predictability should be enhanced, although waiting times may suffer as the buses will be held out of service to meet the schedule.

15. Octagon Field Rest room facilities: Because of the cut in the sewer line at the water tunnel, the facility is out of service. The recently installed facility at the north end of the Goldwater parking lot may be used and a portasan will be in place until the repair work is completed (requiring coordination between DEP and the Octagon). Sorry for the inconvenience.

This message was also published as the RIOC column in the 5/16/09 Main Street WIRE.

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