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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

FDR Four Freedoms Park Seeking More Of Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park - Propose License Agreement For Area Adjacent To Renwick Ruins, Is It Permanent Or Temporary?

Among the items on Agenda of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors September 11 meeting is:

... 2. Authorization to Enter into License Agreement with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for Certain Land Adjoining Four Freedoms State Park (Board Action Required)...
Images Of Southpoint Park Land Sought By FDR Park

According to the proposed license agreement:
... The license shall be conterminous with the Master Lease, provided however that either party may terminate the license on 30 days’ written notice. Upon such termination and the request of RIOC, State Parks shall remove all improvements and restore the property to a condition equal or better than its pre-existing condition within30 days thereafter....
Yesterday, I asked FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy (FDR Park) President Sally Minard:
I am preparing post on September 11 RIOC Board Agenda Item below regarding FDR Four Freedoms Park:
Authorization to Enter into License Agreement with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for Certain Land Adjoining Four Freedoms State Park (Board Action Required)
According to the agreement, the license is revocable at any time by RIOC upon 30 days notice.

In the event that the license is revoked by RIOC, where does FDR Four Freedoms Park plan on installing the structures that would have to be removed from the licensed area if and when the license is revoked? If the structures were removed, how would that effect the operations of FDR Four Freedoms Park?

Also, do you have any further comment on the reason FDR Four Freedoms requires the additional land from Southpoint Park.
FDR Park Director Of Visitor Experience Suzy Brown replied:
Thank you for contacting us about this item on the upcoming RIOC Board meeting's agenda. Just to clarify, the property under discussion is not additional land, it is the land currently being used by the Park for minimal facilities required to operate and maintain the Park. This agreement would make the land available under different arrangement; licensed to NY State to support operation and maintenance of a NY State Park so that we may add necessary, temporary structures to the property – such as heated enclosures for our onsite staff – in a more timely manner than the current permitting arrangement allows.

In answer to your question regarding what would happen if the license were to be revoked (or we were to lose the current permits): it would be impossible for the Conservancy to operate and maintain the Park as we do not currently have an alternative permitted location.
Here is portion of proposed licensed land in Southpoint Park adjacent to the east side of Renwick Ruins sought by the NY Parks Department




and memorandum from RIOC President Charlene Indelicato to RIOC Board members in support of the License Agreement to NY State Parks for the use by FDR Park.
To: Board of Directors
From: Charlene M. Indelicato
Re: License Related to the Operation & Maintenance of Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island
Date: August 27, 2014

This memorandum outlines key terms of the license agreement requested by the Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (“OPRHP”) from Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (“RIOC”) to use certain RIOC land adjoining the Four Freedoms Park Memorial (“Memorial”) now designated and operated as Four Freedoms State Park (“FFSP”). Full background on the FFSP project and the relevant contractual relationships among the City, RIOC and OPRHP is set forth in the proposed license agreement.

Statement of Need & Purpose:
According to OPRHP, the Memorial was designed and constructed without sufficient spaces and amenities to support its operation as a modern, patron-friendly and efficient State Park. These needs apparently include spaces and facilities for visitor contact, access and egress; park administration and staffing; security; maintenance; staging of materials, etc. Since the opening of FFSP in October, 2012 RIOC land adjoining FFSP (located inside the existing iron fence south of Southpoint Park) has been used to facilitate and support FFSP operations. Such uses have been by permission of RIOC with some granted pursuant to permits granted by RIOC for park-related structures and equipment as depicted in the map of the proposed licensed premises. The proposed license would formalize and consolidate all existing uses and pending permits and the terms of such use of RIOC land by FFSP. RIOC would benefit from a formalized commitment from OPRHP relating to the use, care and maintenance of the property, as well as insurance and indemnification for risks and potential claims.

Summary of Key License Terms:
  • The license is without monetary consideration and is coterminous with the obligation of OPRHP to operate the Memorial; either party may terminate the license on 30 days’ written notice.
  • Use of the licensed premises is for state park purposes at no expense to RIOC. OPRHP will not interfere with RIOC access to the premises for any purpose including relating to the island’s seawalls or the Renwick Ruin.
  • OPRHP accepts the licensed premises “as is” and to the fullest extent of the law assumes liability and responsibility for its care, operation and maintenance. Insurance and indemnity benefiting RIOC will be provided by Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, OPRHP’s operating partner.
  • Placements of new structures not contemplated in the license are subject to RIOC approval: All uses are subject to applicable laws, codes, rules and regulations.
  • The license is subject to all rights heretofore granted, or agreed to be granted, to others for the maintenance of highways and utilities. OPRHP will not interfere with any of these existing facilities.
  • The license is non-assignable. Any assignment, sublicense or other transfer agreement with the Conservancy shall include a prohibition on the Conservancy’s assigning, licensing or otherwise transferring its rights and obligations to a third party.
Recommendation
I hereby recommend that the RIOC Board of Directors approve the license agreement related to operation and maintenance of Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island based on the terms as set forth above.
Ms. Indelicato's memo and draft proposed licensed agreement is here.

During May 6 discussion by the RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee, RIOC Director Margie Smith expressed reservations about the proposed license agreement of the Southpoint Park land adjacent to the Renwick Ruins by NY Parks for the benefit of FDR Parks. Ms. Smith was concerned that such a license agreement would preclude any future use and potential RIOC revenue opportunities such as a restaurant at the same location.

Here's what Ms. Smith had to say.



Although the proposed license agreement is structured to be terminated upon 30 days notice, based upon the reply from Ms. Brown that:
... what would happen if the license were to be revoked (or we were to lose the current permits): it would be impossible for the Conservancy to operate and maintain the Park as we do not currently have an alternative permitted location....
it is highly unlikely that the politically powerful FDR Park would ever allow RIOC to terminate the license agreement.

Here's a representative of the NY State Parks Department speaking in favor an earlier version of the license agreement during May 6 RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting.



The RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee has not expressed any view on whether or not to approve this license agreement. It is very unusual for the full RIOC Board to vote on a real estate matter like this without the prior approval of the Real Estate Committee.

Also, in matters of changes to Roosevelt Island park land and public spaces, the RIOC Board often seeks the input of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) as they did for the proposed Southpoint Park Korean Pavilion, renovation of Blackwell Park and rehab of Good Shepherd Plaza. The RIOC Board did not seek the input of RIRA in this matter.

4 comments :

CheshireKitty said...

This is not something that will bring approval to Ms. Indelicato: There was no consultation or discussion by the r/e advisory committee, nor any input by the community. This is the sort of top-down governance islanders dislike. I hope the RIOC Board rejects Ms. Indelicto's resolution and methods on 9/11.


A study should be conducted as to the needs of FFP. Why did Kahn's design not provide for the storage areas/facilities that are now being added to the design by FFP? Because FFP was not meant to be anything but a portion of SPP - in fact, it is part of SPP. Thus, the things FFP wishes to do on its own, can be done through RIOC/SPP. RIOC has a central facility wherein its supplies in connection with the parks are stored. If FFP has accumulated supplies/equipment - some of which may be redundant if RIOC already has the same things - they could be stored at RIOC's existing parks maintenance storage area. Why take away land from SPP, to implement facilities that are not needed since FFP is actually part of SPP?

Westviewer said...

Does anyone know what the breakdown was on Roosevelt Island?

Frank Farance said...

Resolution passed at RIRA Common Council meeting last night:

Whereas, the RIOC Board September 11, 2014 meeting has an agenda item concerning "2. Authorization to Enter into License Agreement with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for Certain Land Adjoining Four Freedoms State Park (Board Action Required)";

Whereas, the residents have registered numerous complaints about the operation and RIOC's enforcement of its agreements concerning the Four Freedoms Park;

Whereas, the RIOC Board resolution would further restrict space in Southpoint Park, including the viewing and enjoyment of the landmarked Smallpox Hospital;

Be it Resolved that: RIRA requests RIOC to postpone any further land‐use agreements on Southpoint Park and Four Freedoms Park until RIRA can study the issue, and RIRA can receive and consolidate resident input and concerns.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Why so much hate over the memorial? They need extra space for operations and are getting it from the state. Why are so many people here against it? As if the RIOC is able to find better use of those small areas.