Friday, January 15, 2010

Report From RIOC's President - Tram Shutdown On Schedule, Temporary Ferry Service Survey & Artificial Turf - Also Improved Gristedes Service?

RIOC President Steve Shane sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Mr. Shane updates us on RIOC Board Nominees status, Tram Modernization Changes, FDR Memorial, Green Rooms/Wild Gardens, Re-opening of Sportspark Pool, Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix Ramp problem, artificial surface for Ocatagon Playing Field, temporary Ferry service during Tram outage, Public Purpose Fund process , RIOC 2010 -11 Budget, Blackwell Park, Winter Coat Drive and Public Safety radar gun speed enforcement.

Mr. Shane also reports on a meeting with Gristedes in which billionaire supermarket owner John Catsimatidis promised "improving quality and reducing shelf pricing" as well as advising of a 10% senior citizen discount!
January 11, 2010

1. Board of Directors: Meeting on January 14 at 9:30 AM. No action yet from the NY Senate on the nominations of Margie Smith, Dr. Grimm and Mike Shinozaki, but it is rumored that the Senate Committee has reported the matter out to be acted upon before the end of January. As elsewhere previously reported, Commissioner VanAmerongen has resigned as of January 15, so this will be her last meeting as the Chair. She will be missed.
2. Tram: On schedule for shutdown March 1 and reopening by September 1, 2010. Because of the difficulties in isolating costs associated with the mechanical overhaul of the system and its component parts, we have agreed with POMA that it should go ahead with its work and when completed, as indicated by the resumption of service which is the overriding priority, we will take stock of where we are and how much is left in the budget to address aesthetic station improvements. I have had meetings with Community Board 8 to present the plan for crane usage, street closings (including the upper ramp of the Queensboro Bridge), permitted times, traffic control and safety precautions, all as submitted to the Departments of Buildings and Traffic.
3. Southpoint:
(A) Green Rooms/Wild Gardens: Phase 1 essentially complete. Permitting and RFP for phase 2 nearing final readiness to be performed in the Spring.
(B) FDR Memorial: Legal work on NYC Funding and Development agreements continues with the FERI attorneys carrying the load. Construction likely to start in the Spring. State Parks has rescheduled the meeting to determine methodology for future maintenance for January 29. A $2 million endowment has been received by State Parks. The Governor’s Budget, to be announced next week, will contain the re-appropriation of $4 Million of State funds.
4. Projects:
(A) Sportspark pool is reopened and fully operational, ADA and code compliant. The gym floor is refinished and bleachers installed. Planning for mechanical system replacement, new weightlifting equipment and other refurbishing is ongoing. The Youth Center will have greater access for basketball and soccer and adult leagues will have a place when the weather makes outdoor courts unplayable. The table tennis group is ever expanding. Watch for program announcements. The many programs available to the residents should make Sportspark a true community center.
(B) The status of the helix leading to the Island from the Bridge is being studied. Last repaired more than 20 years ago, an engineering inspection is being done to determine the condition and to program needed repairs. Long term wear and tear, with corrosion from salt in the wintertime, has taken its toll. Hopefully, there will not need to be complete rebuilding, with the attendant dislocation and cost, but the safety of the Island’s connection must be assured.
(C) Octagon Soccer Field resurfacing: We have met with the two lowest responsible bidders from the earlier RFP to reconfigure the present requirements in consideration of budget imperatives. With a nylon surface currently in use by the NYC Parks Department, utilizing existing light stanchions (plus one), new lighting fixtures and appropriate drainage and foundation, appears likely to come in within projected capital budget. Project can begin, hopefully, by February and completed four months later. Added by vote of the Operations Committee and consent to the Board agenda for action on the 14th.
(D) Motorgate: Scraping and painting ready to begin. Concrete work in abeyance until Spring. Lighting improvements await resealing of floors.
(E) AVAC: New exterior panels being installed. New compactor chambers on order to be installed in the Spring.
5. Ferry: It appears that a temporary service from the East channel oil dock during the Tram outage is possible, although usage and cost remain big questions. If all the morning rush hour Tram commuters (say 500 per hour between 7:30 and 9 AM) opt for ferry service to 35th street and are willing to pay for a 2 fare zone (say at $3 for the ferry ride including a bus up 1st Avenue, across 57th Street and back down 2nd Avenue connecting to other bus and subway lines), then it is projected as a breakeven. Less than such participation will require a substantial subsidy, presumably from RIOC, estimated to be on the order of $100,000 for the 6 months of the Tram shutdown. A survey will be conducted of Tram riders (by distribution on the Tram and published on our website) to try to ascertain interest. NYC EDC is participating in the discussions, but has not agreed to take up any of the financial burden. Stay tuned.
6. Public Purpose Fund: Seven (7) applications for the 2010/11 cycle were submitted. Completed applications will be delivered to RIRA for its review and recommendations to the Board in time for consideration at the March meeting.
7. Budget: The proposed 2010/11 Budget has been sent out to the community and is posted on RIOC’s web site for public review and comment before being formally presented to the Board for adoption, as it may be amended, at the March meeting. RIRA and other interested parties are welcome to review, comment and raise questions as part of the process. We have tried to set forth the detail of the assumptions that are part of the exercise and have made the projections for 15 years, subject to the inevitable infirmities of far off estimates. Both operating and capital budgets have been set forth.
8. Blackwell Park: Community participation in the planning process is seemingly back on track.
9. Credit cards use at Motorgate: As soon as the procedural mechanics are accomplished, transient parkers will be able to use credit cards to pay the parking charges at Motorgate.
10. Gristedes: We met on site with John Catsimatidis, the owner, and his staff to discuss operations of the store. Gristedes has a new buying arrangement with Shoprite, both allegedly improving quality and reducing shelf price. We discussed a marketing plan by web site or otherwise as there is no easy medium for communicating to the specific buying public on the Island. Does everyone know that seniors get a 10% discount on Tuesdays? Revitalizing Gristedes would be good for everyone.
11. Public Safety:
(A) With the certification for radar and the acquisition of hand held units, the PSD will be able to more rigorously enforce the speed limits on the Island. With greater public awareness, the streets should be safer.
(B) Pleased to report 260 coats collected and donated in the annual drive.

Happy and healthy New Year to all.
This message was also published as the RIOC column in the 1/16/10 Main Street WIRE.


Anonymous said...

When does Gristede remove outdated merchandise from the shelves ? It seens that there are more outdated products lster during the week ?

Anonymous said...

Regarding "wear and tear" on the helix I suspect the oversized trucks allowed to come to the island are a big factor

Anonymous said...
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