Report From RIRA President Jeff Escobar - You're Invited To Join A RIRA Committee, Help Serve The Roosevelt Island Community
Image Of Jeff Escobar (standing) at 10/12/22 Roosevelt Island Community Coalition Meeting
Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Jeff Escobar sends the following Report To The Community:
“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
As residents of our little ship floating in the East River, we are very fortunate to have a vibrant community filled with leaders who care for Roosevelt Island and its residents. Whether involved through local politics and governance, the PTA and our local schools, religious institutions, after-school and childcare programs, the Senior Center, building tenant associations, or other community organizations, Islanders work tirelessly, day in and day out, to better our lives. For many, the call to serve is not a question but a command. For others, it is more of a wandering suggestion. Regardless of whether the call is an irresistible urge or an inquisitive desire, the maze of how to get involved can be a daunting one.
As I have said in prior columns, the work of RIRA is done largely through its committees, which meet monthly, sometimes weekly or even daily, to address resident concerns and find ways to better the community. From Housing to Public Safety to Island Services and Planning, there is a RIRA committee working in service of our interests and concerns.
What seems to be forgotten, however, is that you, as an Island resident, can – and should – serve on a RIRA committee. Each and every resident of Roosevelt Island, by way of the RIRA Constitution and Bylaws, is a member of RIRA. Any RIRA member can serve on any RIRA committee. You do not need to be an elected Common Councillor. Are you concerned about the loss of affordable housing and housing issues on the Island? The RIRA Housing Committee is calling for you. Do you want to get involved in the planning of infrastructure for the Island as the Cornell campus is being built? The RIRA Planning Committee needs your services. The following is but a small slice of the active RIRA committees that you and your neighbors can and should join:
• Government Relations Committee, chaired by Sharon Pope of Rivercross: As the representative of RIRA and the Roosevelt Island community to the various local, state, and federal representatives and agencies having jurisdiction over the Island, the Government Relations Committee ensures the establishment of ongoing relationships with officials and governmental departments.
• Housing Committee, chaired by Susan Marcus of Westview: Addressing the issues and concerns of Island residents regarding the management, living conditions, and rental polices of the residential buildings on the Island, the Housing Committee serves as the liaison for RIRA and the Roosevelt Island community to various building committees and housing task forces.
• Island Services Committee, chaired by Aaron Hamburger of the Riverwalk buildings: While supervising and reviewing the delivery of transportation, parks and recreation, sanitation, postal, and commercial services, and common facilities, the Island Services Committee assists individuals and organizations who may experience problems obtaining Island services due them, and seeks to provide solutions on how current Island services can better serve the Roosevelt Island community.
• Planning Committee, chaired by Frank Farance of Island House: Tasked with all matters involving future development of the Island, including but not limited to commercial development, housing, vehicular access, transportation, social services, and energy, the Planning Committee monitors and recommends positions on planning matters, as well as recommends and implements policies relating to energy conservation, distribution, and generation.
• Public Safety Committee, chaired by Erin Feely-Nahem of Westview: Charged with recommending and implementing RIRA and community positions on all matters related to safety, security, vehicular traffic, and parking on the Island, the Public Safety Committee works with our Public Safety Department and New York Police Department Precinct 114 on behalf of the community to address Island residents’ concerns about law enforcement.
• Social, Cultural and Educational Services Committee, chaired by Julie Palermo of Westview: Tasked with creating, or coordinating with, social, cultural, and educational programs and events that promote and improve community bonds on the Island, this committee is also the fund-raising arm of RIRA.
I strongly encourage anyone and everyone who has even a remote interest in serving on any of the above committees (or, for that matter, on a committee that may not have been mentioned) to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will connect you directly with the aforementioned chairs, who will be more than happy to recruit you to join and participate in the work of the committees. By participating in a RIRA committee, not only will you become more engaged in the Island community, and have the opportunity to really get to know your neighbors on our tiny ship in the East River, but you will also be providing an important service to the Island and to everyone who lives here.
RIRA, the Common Council, its committees, and its work are not mine or yours, but ours, as a community. Moreover, RIRA, the Common Council, and its committees cannot do this work without volunteers, like you, who understand that when a community is doing well as a whole, all of its individuals are better off. Like any investment, your return depends on how much you put in. Put a little in, and join a RIRA committee.
If you want more information or have a community concern or question that you would like to discuss, or an event for which you seek RIRA’s help, please reach out via email at email@example.com.