Sunday, November 11, 2012

Report From Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove - Describes Vision For New Campus And Start Of Public Review Process


Cornell NYC Tech Cathy Dove Speaks to October 22 Meeting Of CB 8

Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove sends this report to the Roosevelt Island community. (The public review process referenced in first sentence of Ms. Dove's report refers to the October 22 Community Board 8 Cornell Technion Roosevelt Island Task Force meeting.)
We kicked off the public review process for Cornell Tech’s new Roosevelt Island campus last week and it was great to see approximately 200 of our neighbors at the first community board hearing. Thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to attend the meeting, hear more about our plans for the campus and ask questions about the process.

We described our vision for a new model of graduate tech education that will help grow New York’s tech sector and create thousands of jobs. We showed a Cornell Tech campus plan that is centered around great public open spaces and connected directly to the rest of Roosevelt Island, welcoming in residents with great views, community spaces and easy access to Southpoint Park and the Four Freedoms Memorial. This was just the first step in the seven- month ULURP review process, so there will be many more opportunities to learn about the campus and weigh in with any ideas or concerns you may have.

For me and everyone at Cornell Tech, last week’s meeting just re-affirmed why we chose Roosevelt Island as the site for this innovative new campus. The great turnout and engaging questions made clear that Islanders are uniquely engaged in the future of the Island, committed to innovation and fiercely protective of the sustainable vision that city planners laid out decades ago. We know that makes Cornell Tech the ideal new neighbor, but we also have a responsibility to develop, operate and maintain the campus in a way that respects and welcomes the rest of the Island. These are all things that we’ve known for a long time but were reminded of by everyone last week.

For those who couldn’t attend, we heard questions and comments about a variety of issues, including: access to Southpoint Park, Four Freedoms Memorial and the esplanade during construction; the importance of coordination with RIOC and with Hudson/Related’s construction on the Island; maintenance of the helix and Main Street; access to community spaces on the campus for events and meetings; and strategies to protect trees and plants. But the overwhelming focus of the discussion was on how Cornell Tech can mitigate the impacts of construction on the community by reducing the number of truck trips necessary.

First, I want to assure you that while full build out will not be complete until 2037, the campus will not be under constant construction for the next 25 years. The campus will be built in phases, with many years in between when there is little or no construction taking place.

Second, we are already working to reduce the number of trips needed by planning to keep fill material on-site instead of trucking it off and replacing it, which will reduce trips up to 40%. And while the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) process mandated that we assess the worst case impact – trucking all materials – we are still in the process of analyzing how we transport construction materials to the site. We heard and understand our neighbors’ concerns and we’re committed to the best possible plan for limiting that impact. At the meeting we discussed our ongoing plans to investigate alternatives, including barging. This is a very complex question and we continue to seriously consider all viable options. We will be prepared to share where we are with the analysis at the next CB8 meeting on November 26.

You don’t have to wait until the 26th to learn more, though. Our presentation from last week’s meeting, the DEIS and all related materials have been posted on the website of Community Board 8 for your review at www.cb8m.com. We are also happy to answer any questions you may have by email at CornellNYC@cornelI.edu. I look forward to seeing many of you on the 26th and continuing this dialogue as we work together to create a great new campus here on Roosevelt Island
The video above is of Ms. Dove speaking at the October 22 Presentation by Cornell NYC Tech representatives to Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Cornell Technion Task Force. Will post entire presentation in future post.

More information on the Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Public Review Process including the October 2012 Draft Environmental Impact Statement and latest renderings of the campus available at this prior post.

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