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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Update On Roosevelt Island East River Kayaking And Rowing Facility - RIOC Decides To Issue Expedited Request For Proposals During Real Estate Committee Meeting Yesterday

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Real Estate Committee met yesterday (audio webcast of full meeting here) to discuss the NY Rowing Association proposal to establish a seasonal rowing and kayaking facility beneath the Queensboro Bridge just south of the Oil Dock Pier facing Queens. The subject had first been discussed at the March 21 Operations Committee meeting in which the RIOC Board Directors present expressed approval for the concept but asked for additional information prior to giving approval.

During yesterday's Real Estate Committee meeting, the RIOC Board Directors reported reservations that safety concerns from objects falling from the Queensboro Bridge on to the proposed boating facility and the strong East River currents have not yet been adequately addressed. Another concern was that other NYC kayaking and rowing groups should be given the opportunity to express interest in a Roosevelt Island facility.

The RIOC Real Estate Committee decided to issue an expedited Request For Proposals for interested parties to operate a seasonal rowing and kayaking boating facility near the Oil Dock Pier.

Here's the full discussion.

No mention was made during the discussion of RIOC Director Sal Ferrera's undisclosed membership on the New York Rowing Association Board of Trustees or that the NY Rowing Association official making presentation to RIOC was a member of the Child School's Board of Directors in which Mr. Ferrera is the Executive Director.

Also, during the meeting I asked for an explanation regarding the dispute between the NY Rowing Association and its former location at the Peter Sharp Boathouse but received no answer.

Following this Agenda Item, the RIOC Real Estate Committee went into Executive Session, meaning it was closed to the public, to discuss the privatization and ground lease extension for Island House.


Bonnie K. Frogma said...

I would like to clarify that when I "liked" this on Facebook, I only did so to share it with some friends who were curious when I mentioned this plan. I would usually greet the announcement of a new paddling facility with a cheer, but your particular stretch of the river has currents faster than many paddlers are able to paddle AND heavy commercial traffic (both in numbers and size) operating in a very restricted channel. 

I don't understand how an RFP can have been sent out when you say right here "the RIOC Board Directors reported reservations that safety concerns...the strong East River currents have not yet been adequately addressed." The board is showing considerable sense by having reservations. The RIOC really ought to consult with the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and perhaps a qualified paddlesports professional (New York Kayak, Atlantic Kayak Tours, Empire Kayak or one of the other professional outfitters in the area) to assess the suitability or unsuitability for a center with the types of activities proposed.

RooseveltIslander said...

Earlier today, representatives from NYC kayak/boatclubs with a great deal of experience paddling on the East River attended a meeting with RIOC staff to discuss the RFP.

Although the Kayak/Boat Club representatives  acknowledged the challenges of operating a kayak facility at this site, they also expressed their strong desire to participate in establishing such a facility.

However, the representatives were not happy with the short time frame to respond to the RFP.

Further discussions will continue between RIOC and the Kayaking community.

Bonnie K. Frogma said...

Wow. I'm actually a bit shocked. 

Bonnie K. Frogma said...

OK, I still think that only asking the organizations that are interested in running the place for their assessments is a bit like only asking the guy who is trying to sell you skydiving lessons if his plane is safe. Chances are everything would be fine, but would a second opinion from someone who hasn't got a vested interest in the operation be such a bad idea?

However, I've also found out that friends of mine are involved here - people who do know that area better then me & who do have good judgement, so I won't take it any farther than that. 

Had said my piece, anyways. Thanks!

RooseveltIslander said...

Update on lawsuit involving NY Rowing Association and former boathouse in yesterday's NY Times.