Thursday, February 5, 2015

Roosevelt Island's Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance May Not Return To Renovated Cultural Center - Executive Director Says RIOC Seeking Onerous $8 Thousand Monthly Fee

Reported July 2013:

The Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance (MST&DA) and the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) have been unable to use the space they formerly occupied at the Cultural Center following a July 2012 flooding incident which caused substantial damage to the premises.

 Image Of Roosevelt Island Cultural Center Entrance At 548 Main Street

Since that time RIOC has been in the process of repairing the damaged Cultural Center and establishing procedures for future use of the space by Roosevelt Island community groups including former occupants such as the MST&DA, RIJC and other groups seeking space.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) has finally repaired the damage caused by July 2012 flooding and made worse by the October 2012 Hurricane Sandy. RIOC recently completed the renovation of the Cultural Center but the MST&DA may not be able to return to the new Cultural Center reports its Executive Director Owen Johnston during last night's Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Session.

Mr. Johnston told the RIRA Common Council that RIOC is seeking a $8 Thousand monthly fee from MST&DA in order to use the Cultural Center space and noted:
... the idea that we would not be able to dance on our own dance studio floors does not make any sense....
In response to questions from RIRA's Aaron Hamburger, Mr. Johnston added:
... the fees they are discussing are beyond onerous. Quite frankly, they are absurd. Its not anything we as an organization have ever experienced. It's been in the past, RIOC has understood the benefit we bring to the community.
Also, Mr. Johnston said RIOC intends to use a portion of the Cultural Center space for some of its own office and storage use.

Mr. Johnston will be meeting today with RIOC to discuss the issue further and will be seeking the support of the Roosevelt Island community to return the MST&DA to the newly renovated Cultural Center.

Last evening, I asked RIOC President Charlene Indelicato:
Owen Johnston of Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance claims that Rioc is seeking what he claims to be an exorbitant rent of $8 thousand per month for the newly renovated Cultural Center Space.

Is it true that Rioc is seeking $8 thousand per month from Main Street theater for the space?

Also, any comment from Rioc regarding issue of Cultural Center space and it's use by community organizations.
Ms. Indelicato replied:
I have no comment at this time other than to say the amount stated was never discussed
Here's what Mr. Johnston said at RIRA meeting last night.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE 6:50 PM - MST&DA Board President Jenine Olsen reports on today's meeting with RIOC:
We had a meeting today with RIOC and came away with a firm belief that they understand and personally value the contributions we have made for so many years to this community. We also came away with a better understanding of the constraints RIOC is faced with under the current political directives.

We are working on a proposal which we feel will be received in a positive way and allow us to again deliver our quality programs at 548 Main Street. The $8000 monthly fee was one interpretation that Owen came away with after being given the rates proposed for the spaces we would use at the hours we would need. We are optimistic that our rent will not be near that amount when we meet again with RIOC and present our proposal.


YetAnotherRIer said...

How about figuring out ways to stay here? Reach out to other organizations and partner up? Improve fund raising? Looks like they need a few more business-minded people on hand to figure out how to overcome the hurdle.