Friday, July 2, 2010

Message To Roosevelt Island Community From RIOC Board Director Margie Smith

Image Of June 2010 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting

I have offered the opportunity to members of the Roosevelt Island Board of Directors to use this blog as a vehicle to communicate to Roosevelt Island residents regarding issues of concern to the community in an unedited format and taking as much space as they wish. I am very happy that the newest Board Member, Margie Smith, decided to do so and hope that other Board Members follow her lead.

I have also offered the same to Steve Chironis, the interim President/CEO of RIOC and he has agreed to do so. If former RIOC President Steve Shane wishes to share his views with the community on his departure, the blog is open for him as well.

I have asked RIOC Board Chairperson and DHCR Commissioner Brian Lawlor to comment on the reasons for Mr. Shane's departure and to date have received no reply.

From Ms. Smith:
I’ve been on the RIOC Board now for several months and as one of the newest members I thought I’d take this opportunity to say where I think we are right now and to look toward the future and what I hope we’ll be able to accomplish in the upcoming year(s).

The current board is composed primarily of residents elected by each of you. We recognize our responsibility to you and our responsibility to New York State. Those responsibilities, fortunately, are in perfect synchronization. The objectives of this community are still very much the objectives of this board. We want to continue the original plan for this Island, a community with mixed ethnicities, incomes and age groups.

We’re working to revitalize Main Street. We’ve put forward a plan to get a Master Leaseholder to take over the storefronts. We believe this will provide a long-term solution to an ongoing problem. While it takes longer upfront to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Master Leaseholder than it would to issue an RFP for an individual store, once it’s done, it’s done forever. That means that in the future if a store becomes vacant, it can be filled instantly with whatever type of shop or service is needed, without RIOC having to issue an RFP, with its inherent delays, every time that happens. It also means closer management of the storefronts by people who know retail. I, personally, feel this approach will be a plus for the residents as well as the merchants. We appreciate your patience and completely understand the frustration felt by all of you. We feel it too and I want to assure you we’re doing everything in our power to breathe life into Main Street as quickly as we possibly can.

At the same time we’re putting a high priority effort on finalizing the affordability plans outlined by the Department of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). Those plans will insure that affordable housing will continue for the residents of Island House, Rivercross and Westview. We’ve been very fortunate to have the expertise of the DHCR staff in developing these plans and our objective now is to get them implemented as quickly as possible.

Then there’s the tram. By now you’ve all read that we’re behind schedule by about a month. We recognize the importance of getting the tram back as quickly as possible and we’re doing everything we can to make up the time. You’ve probably seen the after-hours work that’s being done to speed up the job, with safety always being our primary concern. I personally walk from my job on the West side to the tram every evening after work rather than going down into the subway. I miss that and want to get back to doing it while the weather is still nice. I also recognize the huge inconvenience this is to the disabled and senior population who can’t always depend on the elevator in the subway working. Bottom line, we understand the importance of getting the tram back in service as fast as is safely possible. We’re trying to do just that.

While there are a myriad of other projects going on right now, we’re also looking well into the future of the Island. Our first concern is to be sure that the Island will be financially stable in the years to come. That will be a challenge, but we believe we’re on the right road to making that happen. As a board member and Island resident I want tosee Roosevelt Island be in the forefront of innovation. That’s what we’ve always been about. We had the first commuter tramway in the United States; we have the only Automated Vacuum Collection (AVAC) system serving a residential complex in the United States; we had electric buses back in the ‘70’s. This board wants the Island to continue to innovate. We’re focusing on the areas of technology, energy, and communications. I’m looking forward to more community involvement in each of these areas to make the next decade one that’s marked with creativity and progress that will make us all proud.


Anonymous said...

Is Ms. Smith a Rivercross Resident as well? Hummm!

Anonymous said...

She sure is-for quite a long time now- very curious....

WV-28 years