Important News On Roosevelt Island Cornell Technion Project Among Items Reported In RIRA President Ellen Polivy's Report To The Communty - Your Help Is Needed Evaluating Cornell Draft Environmental Statement
The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President's Report has returned to Roosevelt Islander Online after an absence during Matt Katz's recent term as RIRA President. Newly elected RIRA President Ellen Polivy has chosen to make the RIRA President's Report available to readers of Roosevelt Islander as well as the local print newspaper, Main Street WIRE.
Here's Ms. Polivy's RIRA President's Report.
Margaret Mead said "Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. “ Sometimes one individual can make a difference. Matthew Katz, in his four terms as leader of RIRA has consistently been one of those individuals. One small example: Matt used his position as RIRA president to convince the MTA to accept the Metrocard on the Tram. The next time you slide your card through the slot at the Tram, give a silent “thank you” to Matt – and then think what you can do – to make a difference in our community. His successes show the impact that one committed person can have.
In this column, I will discuss two island organizations with the potential to improve the quality of life for all Roosevelt Island residents. It’s important for all of us to know about these organizations, what they are currently doing, what they hope to do in the future, and most importantly, how you can become involved.
The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA)
RIRA represent the 14,000 residents on Roosevelt Island and serves as a outlet for your voice. You have elected a group of smart, energetic and motivated Common Council members. Many of them are new to the Council but come with a great deal of enthusiasm and experience. Our first order of business in our next meeting is electing committee chairs and filling committees. The committees will identify projects, fundraisers, issues to address and problems to solve. Committees and monthly Common Council meetings are open to everyone. We encourage you to come and to participate.
I promised I would mic the meetings and I did. Thanks to the owners of Riverwalk Bar and Grill for loaning us their sound equipment. This is one of the innovations I intend to make that will make meeting more accessible to the community. What else would you like us to do?
Our Communications Committee will be exploring the best ways to run community polls. We want to get fast, consistent and reliable responses. The compiled answers will be given to elected officials and RIOC. Who else do you want to share your opinions with?
Our first poll will be of the children to help RIOC know what Island children want. RIOC Community Relations Specialist, Erica Spencer-El is suggesting questions that will help RIOC enhance Fall for Arts, the Halloween festival and other programs. These are great programs. Let’s make them even better by involving our children. Let’s give our children an early start on civic involvement.
Roosevelt Island Community Coalition
Over the past year RIRA played an important role in creating what is now a separate organization, the Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC). The goal of RICC is to represent every organization on Roosevelt Island to protect Roosevelt Island’s interests and develop a working relationship with Cornell-Technion during their development phase. I am Co-Chair with Jonathan Kalkin. We are excited about Cornell coming to Roosevelt Island. As we look forward to a productive relationship we want to sustain the character of our community. Getting input from our thirty- three member organizations and interest groups, we have worked together to create a comprehensive list of our wants and needs. We identified the most urgent and immediate concerns of the community: quality of life, health, security and the safeguarding of our infrastructure. This document will be used in meetings with elected officials, Cornell and Community Board 8.
Important news on the Cornell Development plan:
Mark your calendar for Monday November 26 at 6:30. A Public Hearing is being held by the Cornell –Technion Roosevelt Island Task Force of Community Board 8. It is essential that we have a good turnout, so please attend. The meeting will be held at The Manhattan Park Theater, 8 River Road.
Cornell is coming to Roosevelt Island with or without our input. If we don’t voice our concerns and our wants, they will design, construct and create their project maximizing their needs and minimizing our concerns. They will deliver their construction materials in a manner that is cost effective for them and potentially disruptive to the Roosevelt Island community and damaging to our infrastructure.
Here is the background. Cornell is in the beginning stages of a nine month Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP). This process starts with approval of Community Board 8 and ends with approval of the New York City Council. Councilmember Jessica Lappin plays a crucial role in this process. As our representative on the City Council, her role is to protect the needs of our community. The City Council will vote on whether or not to grant final approval. Cornell’s role is to prepare their required 800 page Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) which describes the 25 year construction project and the impact on the community and the surrounding area.
We recently received copies of this DEIS. Those of us who are reading it have discovered numerous surprising assumptions, inconsistencies, and serious omissions that could damage the quality of life in our community. We are identifying these problems and will present them to Community Board 8 and to the officials who will be approving the Cornell project. A review this large requires a tremendous amount of scrutiny.
We welcome readers of sections or the whole document. You can download a copy of the DEIS by going to the CB8 website www.cb8m.com If you plan to comment on a chapter, please email RICC at email@example.com. We would like to know what you think.
The meeting on Monday November 26 is an important opportunity to give input to Cornell. CB8 votes to approve or disapprove the construction project Wednesday, December 12.
Please come and listen on November 26. If you plan to make a statement, bring a written copy and prepare to read it. The format for the statement should include your name, years on Roosevelt Island, your Island affiliations (if any) and your comments. It should be 110 words or less. (1 minute). You will hand it in and if time permits, you can read it. The Community Board committee members will read all statements before the final vote in December.
Hurricane Sandy responses
The destructiveness of Sandy took everyone by surprise. Thanks to all the Island groups and individuals that gave of their time and resources to help people in need and to clean up. Stay tuned for more about this in my next column.
As the President of RIRA, I want to make it easy for as many people as possible to get involved in the community. As an individual you can make a difference. I welcome your questions and your comments. Please share them with me and with your elected building representatives. Let us know what we can do to improve the quality of life for everyone on Roosevelt Island.