Sunday, May 19, 2013

Report From Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove, ULURP Application Approved By NYC Council - Cornell Intends To Adopt Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 And Minimize Construction Impact As Much As Possible She Says


Ms. Dove Speaking at May 8 NYC Council Approval of Cornell NYC Tech ULURP Application

Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove sends this report to the Roosevelt Island community.

I am so pleased to report that last week we reached a significant milestone – the completion of the formal land use review process (ULURP) for Cornell NYCTech.

We are very grateful to so many members of the Roosevelt Island community for the constructive and meaningful input throughout the process. Ultimately, your great support for the vision and mission of the campus set the tone for the entire process, reflected in very strong endorsements from the Community Board, the Borough President, the City Planning Commission and finally the City Council. We all owe a special thanks to Council Member Jessica Lappin for her tireless work in ensuring community needs were addressed.

We worked diligently throughout the public review process to incorporate feedback from the community into our approach – your input resulted in a more meaningful set of commitments from us. As a result of this constructive process, we were able to understand and address those topics that are most important to Islanders, resulting in a plan that maximizes the campusʼ benefit for all. The faculty, staff and students of Cornell Tech are looking forward to being an active partner in so many ways: researching ways that technology can enhance the lives of the many Island populations; providing computers and training to senior center members and the disabled community; providing a tech fair to advance technology education for the disabled; and working with the community to program outdoor space for children, among many others.

Many of you know that one of our primary goals is to help advance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in New York City public schools. Of course, the Roosevelt Island school is of special interest. Recently, Council Member Lappin made a wonderful suggestion during the land use review process that we embraced immediately – we will “adopt” PS/ IS 217! That means that we will engage with teachers and students in many ways, such as providing training and support, after school programming, tech events, career day options, and hardware and software programming development.

We canʼt wait to start this relationship and engage the Islandʼs young people in embracing innovation and tech. Itʼs just one piece of a larger commitment to working with schools around the City on exciting new programs. Our initial focus will be on middle school students. We will kick off the effort this summer with an immersion program for middle school girls (including some from PS/ IS217) to learn coding, web design, robotics and mobile development under the mentorship of some of the industryʼs top engineers and entrepreneurs. Classes will be held on Roosevelt Island, with special thanks to our friends at Urban American for providing space at Roosevelt Landings and logistical support for this great program.

In addition to hearing a great deal about ways our programs can benefit the community, throughout ULURP we were asked to find ways to minimize the impact of construction as much as possible. I appreciate your patience as we worked through the analysis around some very complex issues, as we did not want to disappoint the community by committing to approaches that we would later discover would not be feasible. One of the most challenging topics was to identify methods for reducing the number of trucks – especially the heaviest trucks – in order to limit the impact of construction on residents and on the Islandʼs infrastructure. Consistent with Cornell Techʼs focus on innovation in everything we do, Iʼm very proud to announce that we will be undertaking the most aggressive voluntary barging program in New York City. As a result, we expect to reduce truck trips by more than half as compared to traditional building techniques. The barging will specifically target the heaviest materials, further lightening the load on Main Street and the Helix .

Soon we will be creating a construction task force with residents and other stakeholders to keep the community updated during construction, to answer questions, and to discuss topics that arise. We will also launch a website with project and construction information as we get closer to our start date, and will provide contact information so all community members can reach us directly with questions and comments. We are committed to being accessible throughout this process.

Thereʼs still a lot of work to do before we break ground in early 2014, but we are on schedule and building momentum toward a real presence for Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island. We canʼt wait!
Below are questions and answers following May 8 announcement of NYC Council Cornell NYC Tech ULUPR approval.

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