Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Meeting Tonight/ Agenda & Committee Reports On Ferry, Blackwell Park, Public Purpose Fund & Public Safety Below

Image of October RIRA Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council will be meeting tonight. Prior to the start of the meeting there is an opportunity for the public to present any issues of concern to the Council. Below is the Agenda for tonight's meeting as well as various committee reports.

Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Time: 8:00 P.M. - Finish
Place: Good Shepherd Community Center, 543 Main Street
1. Public Session (8:00)

2. Roll Call (8:30)
X 3. Approval of Agenda (8:35)
4. Approval of Minutes (8:40)
5. Treasurer’s Report (8:45)
- Report provided
6. President's Report (8:50)
7. Committee Reports (9:00)
Housing - J. Micheff & L. Strong-Shinozaki
Social, Cultural and Educational Services - N. Leopold
Island Services - A. Hamburger
Planning - M. Katz
- Committee report
Communications - E. Erickson
Government Relations - M. Smith
Public Safety - E. Feely-Nahem
- Committee report

8. Old Business (9:45)
X Revised Public Purpose Funds Guidelines and Criteria

9. New Business (9:45)

10. Adjourn

X Agenda items requiring action
Town Hall Meeting for October RIOC Board Meeting: Wednesday, December 9, 2009, 8-9:30PM
Next Meeting: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 (Mailing Deadline: October 30, 2009)
Future 2010 Meetings: January 6, February 3, March 3, April 7, May 5, June 2
The Planning Committee Report:
Friday, October 16, 2009

Attending: Matthew Katz (Chair), Aaron Barth, Francisco Bozzano-Barnes, Frank Farance, Steven Heller, Sherie Helstien, Denise Shull

1. There was a discussion of the potential for ferry service on Roosevelt Island, including what would be the best site for a ferry landing and what response to the question the RIRA Common Council should make. Several of the participants had attended and spoken at the citywide meeting on October 5. Katz noted that the discussion at Hunter College centered on docking sites with no representatives of the ferry providers present. He wondered whether the City would provide the service, as it does for the free Staten Island ferry, or offer it as a (possibly subsidized) profit-making concession. Shull made the case that Becker & Becker Associates has expended considerable time and money to pave the way for an Octagon site. Others noted that the transportation hub, servicing a majority of Island residents, is closer to the dock adjacent to the subway station, and might serve the greater number of riders. The consensus was approval for ferry service as a minimal contributor to solving our transportation bottleneck, both present and future, regardless of where the dock might be, and so, we offer the following Motion for consideration by the Common Council:
MOTION: The RIRA Common Council supports the presence of commuter ferry service on Roosevelt Island and urges the choice of a ferry docking site to best expedite the start of service and that could potentially be a permanent site.

2. The discussion continued on short- and long-term strategies for off-Island transportation. Katz discussed the many years of interacting with the heads of the MTA and the NYCTA that have produced no serious discussion of Roosevelt Island’s issues, much less solutions. He mentioned a report on F train service, to be released by New York City Transit, and promised to distribute it when available. [This report, entitled “Review of F Line Operations, Ridership, and Infrastructure” and dated October 7, 2009, has been electronically distributed to the Council]. This report cites the F train as the worst in the system, and Katz thought this might serve to produce a substantive meeting with Transit Authority officials to address our concerns. Farance offered to amass the technical data necessary to reinforce our case.
Update: Since this meeting, Katz has met with Assembly Member Kellner, who is working to arrange this meeting. The discussion continued with Kellner’s Community Liaison, Paul Curtis, during his October 22 on-Island office hours, and considered the parameters for such a meeting. The meeting included Government Relations Committee Chair, Margie Smith, and RIOC Board Director, Jon Kalkin. City Council Member, Jessica Lappin, has expressed interest in the meeting as well.

3. The Blackwell Park working group met on the morning of October 24 to walk through the site with RIOC Vice President, Rosina Abramson, and architect, Lee Weintraub. Several community members, longtime park users, joined the core group to add their input to the planning. Weintraub presented several hand-drawn schematics of the site to demonstrate how his thinking has progressed. For example, the two basketball courts that had been reduced to only one are now back to two courts based on information provided by players including RIRA delegate, Steve Marcus. When Weintraub stated that comfort stations were not an element in present planning, the group noted, vehemently, that any facility to be used by children and athletes must include toilet facilities.

4. The Blackwell Park Task Force, scheduled to meet on October 29, was cancelled by Rosina Abramson and did not meet. Task Force member, Judy Berdy, convened a meeting exclusively of Island activists on October 27 that included Task Force members, RIRA members, RIOC Board members and other stakeholders including Ali Schwayri, President of the Tree Board. While the RIOC effort has had as its basic premise a complete renovation of the site, this group began by asking, “What’s the matter with the park as it is?” Both Schwayri and architect, Tad Sudol, confirmed that the potential cost of transplanting mature trees, a part of the Weintraub plan, might cost $25,000 per tree with a 50% chance of survival. The group was adamantly opposed to any trees being moved. Howard Polivy noted that the budgeting for the park, which will include financial support by the Hudson and Related Companies to move the tot lot that currently sits on the site for Southtown building #7, is “murky.” The latest drawing from the RIOC architect included side-by-side basketball courts, and Steve Marcus, representing the ball players, saw this as inappropriate and unworkable. Many stated that the existing linear configuration, with shade trees, seating and sight lines, was “damn near perfect” as is. In the discussion of the Weintraub plan to create unobstructed sight lines from Blackwell House to the river, many objected, citing the requirement of moving trees only to clear a view of the Big Allys power plant. The plan to include “content” as suggested by the field trips to Gantry State Park and the playground at the Queens Hall of Science was generally repudiated as unnecessary, especially by parents who had raised their children in the park. We generally agreed that using elements from the old Tram and stations was an interesting idea, but didn’t need to be confined to Blackwell Park and that the planning should be in the context of planning for the entire Island. Fay Christian and others lauded the specific plans for the new playground, however. Everyone agreed that a comfort station, including running water, was essential for a park designed to include children of varying ages. We agreed that our work would be enhanced by having drawings to scale, and Berdy, Sudol and Frank Farance agreed to provide these work sheets by the next meeting, scheduled for Monday, November 2. Given the proximity to the November 4 RIRA Common Council meeting, RIRA participants will report verbally on this meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
Matthew Katz

There's More!

Guidelines For Public Purpose Funds:
Guidelines and Criteria for Evaluating Public Purpose Funds

Mission Statement:
Public Purpose Funds should be allocated to benefit Roosevelt Island residents, enhancing their quality of life through education, artistic and cultural enrichment, improved health or a better environment.

a) Applicant organizations must be not-for-profit incorporations as defined by Internal Revenue Code (26U.S.C. § 501(c) Status.

b) Group should not discriminate on the basis of age, place of national origin, physical condition, race, religion, or sexual orientation. (Exceptions might be permitted based upon the nature of the origination, e.g., youth service organizations focus on the young, disabled service organizations focus on those with certain physical conditions.)

c) RIRA requires at least a 60 day period of evaluation between the time RIOC submits the application to RIRA and the date RIRA is asked to make its recommendation back to RIOC.

d) Monies must be used for the specific purpose for which they were granted. An accounting must be provided at the end of the period to show how funds were spent.

e) Applicants must provide a Cost / Benefit analysis for RIRA's review. This analysis should detail how the grants will improve the quality of the services to be delivered.

f) If membership and/or tuition fees are charged, a price structure should be submitted. Such submissions should include details on number, and type of scholarships provided in the prior year and planned in the upcoming year.

g) Applicants should provide an account of all efforts made to secure grants from other sources.

h) Applicants should submit resumes for principal officers and pertinent staff.

Additional Factors:
Applicants are encouraged to comment on the following factors, which will also be considered:

a) Proportion of recipients who are residents of Roosevelt Island.

b) Preference will be given to organizations that can provide services to the widest population of residents, regardless of their economic condition.

c) Amount of services delivered to the economically disadvantaged.

d) Frequency of need — Is this a one-time request or is it expected to be a recurring request?

e) Proven history of service to the community.

f) Extent of volunteerism in the organization — how much of the group's needs are filled by donated time and/or materials?

g) Availability of "matching" grants or services — will a RIOC grant improve the chances of receiving additional monies or services form outside groups?

h) Efforts to secure grants from other sources.

i) Normally, RIRA will not recommend funding to cover 100% of salaries.
Public Safety Committee Report:
Public Safety Committee Meeting Minutes

Peter Digilio
Lynne Shinozaki
Joyce Mincheff
Ellen Polivy
Frank Farance
Erin Feely-Nahem

Committee created a Mission statement for the committee. We discussed our priorities and attempted to place them in order. We decided to ask Director Guerra about his ideas on the Youth Tribunal model, and research other models.

Mission Statement:

To provide support to the Public Safety Department in an effort to assure that community needs are being met. To act as a liaison between the community and the Public Safety department, and to be available as an omnibudsman to facilitate resolution as needed.

1) Work toward obtaining access for the disabled to the Public Safety office, making the entrance disabled accessible. Gaining access for the disabled to the elevators that are required for access to the Cultural Center.

2) Traffic Enforcement: To review and analyze enforcement of traffic regulations, such as traffic going through Stop signs, Yield signs, traffic control, etc.

3) Youth Tribunal: Look into the reality of implementing a Youth Tribunal system for lesser offences, such as misdemeanors, as an alternative to giving them summonses, desk tickets, or arrest for the youth on the Island. Utilizing community service as a punishment instead.

4) Parking Priorities: Look at ticketing policy, signs, ticket machines, and the fair and universal enforcement of the existing parking rules.

5) Traffic design: Petition for AAA to come onto the Island and analyze and design appropriate signage design.

6) Opening of Sports Park to be utilized for the youth on the Island as a place of entertainment on weekends, after 9:00pm when the Youth center closes. To have activities such as roller-skating, dances, music etc available as entertainment.

7) Bicycles on the side walk. Possible assist in organizing a Bike Safety Day, to be utilized by Public Safety as an informational opportunity to interact with community. Inform parents of the rules regarding riding on the sidewalk, safety, itching of bikes etc.

8) Plan a place where older youth can hang out without disturbing residents, possibly Meditation Steps, and have Public Safety break up large groups and move them to this designated area.

9) Motor Gate crime: Discuss options with Public Safety.

10) Enforcement issues around the growing amount of litter, dog feces and cleanliness of the Island, especially behind the Blackwell House path.

* After the minutes were passed around to other committee members who did not attend, it was requested that we consider addressing the unlawful car and truck traffic around the sea wall. At this time, other committee members have not commented on this issue. This issue can be discussed at the next meeting.