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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) Status Update On Cornell NYC Tech Project - Will RIOC Heed Advice And Suggestions From RICC?

Reported yesterday on plans for Cornell NYC Tech collaboration and "adoption" of Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 with video presentations by PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman and Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove to the Community Board 8 Youth & Education Committee.

Many issues still need to be resolved before Cornell NYC Tech can take possession, begin demolition of the existing Goldwater Hospital and start construction of the new applied sciences and engineering school. Among the issues still to be negotiated with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) are an agreement with RIOC for land controlled by RIOC that is part of the proposed Cornell campus, the use of barging and temporary concrete plant during the construction process, air and noise pollution monitoring and much more.

The Roosevelt Island Community Coalition (RICC) addressed some of these concerns in the following statement reacting to last month's NYC Council approval of Cornell NYC Tech's ULURP application. According to RICC:
RICC has worked closely with Cornell for over eight months to negotiate community amenities (such as computers, educational programs, meeting space) which we, and our member organizations, felt would be appropriate and appreciated in consideration of the many years of construction which the community will endure in order to make the Cornell complex a reality. Cornell has responded favorably to many of them and RICC is gratified that this would not have happened without the relationship which we have formed with them.

We have been assisted in our endeavors by, and are grateful for, recommendations and negotiations through CB8, the City Planning Commission, the Borough President's Office, and the City Council - especially Council Member Jessica Lappin. We wish they could have done more to help us but realize this project is something the entire City is behind because of the benefits it will bring.

There are many issues not yet resolved, however, or not addressed to our satisfaction, and these are the most critical because they involve health and safety. We want trucking to be the exception because of the pollutants, noise, traffic, possible damage to our helix they could cause - Cornell has only agreed to reduce trucking by about 40% through barging. We want an on-site cement plant to reduce numbers of cement trucks - Cornell is no longer considering it due to claimed deterents which RICC thinks could be mitigated. We want them to contribute funds to add officers to the Public Safety Department because of the increased population Cornell will bring and the presence of Technion, an Israeli institution - they will contribute only to security for their campus.

Because of these issues and others which are still of concern, RICC will continue to meet with Cornell, RIOC, elected officials, and whoever or whatever body can assist us in meeting our goals. We will let the community know when and how you can assist us and trust that you will rise to the occassion, since the issues we continue to be concerned about will affect the health and well-being of our Island community far into the future.
These issues were discussed in great detail during May 21 RICC Board meeting. Here's what happened.

Part 1

followed by questions and answers.

The RIOC Board Directors and new RIOC President Charlene Indelicato would be wise to consider the advice and suggestions of the RICC Board on many of these issues when negotiating with Cornell NYC Tech.


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