RIRA: Rats, Fields, and Elevators (Oh, My!)

June 24, 2017

Over the summer, while the RIRA Common Council takes its summer break, the Island Services Committee will continue to work on the major issues we’ve been dealing with for the last three to four months.




The serious trash/rats problem at PS 217 is now getting attention from the Dept. of Education, RIOC, PS/IS 217 staff, the PTA, and some key Roosevelt Island residents. Multi-faceted actions are under way. Probably the most important action is to place traps filled with rat poison all over the affected site.


We think this is unsafe and probably not effective over the long term.


Rossana Ceruzzi, our rodent expert, proposed an alternate solution. She  has offered to install and maintain a cat pen at the site with help from her volunteers and some students. This is environmentally friendly and effective. She and her wildlife organization maintain four sites on Roosevelt Island, which have demonstrated that cat pens are very effective. The smell of cats keeps rats away. 


We will try to get the people involved in the problem to consider the cats proposal.




After meeting with RIOC, we learned that they are developing a plan to provide space at one sports field daily on a rotating basis for “free play” for residents, especially our youth. Also, RIOC’s new Director of Parks and Recreation was directed to inspect the four sports fields and two dog runs, and develop a plan to bring the fields and dog runs, which are currently in poor condition, up to an acceptable condition. We will monitor the progress on this issue and assist as necessary. 


The major projects to fix deficiencies in Sportspark are completed and the facility is back in operation. 


Our lead person on Sportspark, Susana del Campo Perea, has been inspecting the facility and is preparing a comprehensive report on what still needs to be fixed. 


Working with the appropriate RIOC officials and Sportspark’s staff, we hope to develop an action plan to bring the facility and programs up to an acceptable standard. 


Tram Elevators


We will continue to press RIOC to expedite the project to provide two new elevators for the Tram station. Our pessimistic estimate is that the elevators may not be in operation until mid-2018.


RIRA Summer Hiatus


As stated above, during the months of June through August, the RIRA Common Council will be away on its summer hiatus. During RIRA’s time away, please take time to reach out to your building representative, voice concerns or goals you wish for him or her to undertake in the upcoming sessions, and to ask any and all questions you might have. 


The success of the Common Council depends very much on each of you, as members of the community, to let the building representatives know what they can do to better serve you and the community. 


And, if you are interested in taking a seat at the Common Council table in September, please do let your building representative know, or reach out to Jeff Escobar at president@riraonline. There may be spots still available for your building. Come, and be a leader to the community.


Aaron Hamburger

Chair, RIRA Island Services


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