The June Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Board of Directors meeting started out with applause when Wildlife Freedom Foundation’s Rossana Ceruzzi stood up at the podium before the four-member board (Alex Vallela was absent) and shared that an agreement over the cat sanctuary had been reached . Weeks after RIOC turned off the water supply to the Southpoint Park shelter for feral cats, they had agreed to turn it back on.
Though that was the only issue that inspired applause, there was other good news shared at the meeting.
Fourth of July In her President’s Report, Susan Rosenthal explained that for the July 4 Fireworks that will start at 9:20pm, there will be food trucks and entertainment including bouncy houses, giant slides, an inflated obstacle course, music, and face painting at Southpoint Park. There will also be extra toilets. As part of RIOC’s collaboration with Four Freedoms Park and Cornell Tech, they will have extra security, including NYPD and private security.
Tickets will be made available for Islanders one day prior to the general public on the RIOC website at rioc.ny.gov on June 28.
More Funds Thanks in large part to the new ground lease agreement with Rivercross, RIOC’s operating revenue has increased by $4.4 million to $7.4 million.
Money Earmarked for New Youth Center Department RIOC voted to create a Youth Center Department, making official what started in March after the Roosevelt Island Youth Program’s bid failed. Citing a “big additional and ongoing responsibility,” this dedicated department is intended to requisite staffing and financial support to run the center. This vote increased the budget of the department by close to $700,000 and added a head count of ten, including a dedicated youth public safety officer.
Drop-in this summer will take place at the Sportspark, during the hours of 8am-6pm, because the Youth Center will undergo a 90-day construction project to start in July. RIOC staff, Kimberly Quinones and Shelton Haynes, were careful to clarify that it is not summer camp, and not a formal program, but is a drop-in center, and a safe and controlled environment.
$14 Million Bike Lane The bike lane access project is gearing up, and the board voted to move forward on the project after RIOC received a $4 million TAP grant. The plan is to connect bike lane access down the east side promenade and down and around Cornell Tech. The full project is estimated to cost $14 million.
New Lights for Soccer Field The Octagon field lighting fixtures will be replaced with newer, sustainable fixtures, explained RIOC Parks Department’s Mary Cunnen. She said the new lights will have dimmable capabilities and that the work will be done around the summer permitting schedule. She also clarified that the lighting project is done with the larger field renovation in mind, and will complement that project.
Motorgate An RFP is being prepared for work at the Island’s parking garage, Motorgate. The final plan will address operation of the garage while work is ongoing and portions are closed.