They may be two members down, but there was still plenty to get done at last night's meeting of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Board of Directors.
Southtown buildings 8 and 9 inched closer to breaking ground with the approval of an environmental impact report (saying there would essentially be no impact); a firm was selected to help manage RIOC's four-year $90 million capital improvement plan currently underway; and RIOC upped its insurance policy. And that was just the boring stuff.
From a long-awaited Rivercross ground lease deal to new security cameras, here's what you need to know:
1. FDR Hope Memorial Gets Funded
RIOC has officially taken over the effort to bring the FDR Hope Memorial to Southpoint park. The Board approved an expenditure of up to $300,000 to finalize the installation. The memorial, which features a bronze statue of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a wheelchair reaching out to a child on crutches, has been an ongoing effort by the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association. RIDA has agreed to donate the statue to RIOC, who will assume responsibility for completing and maintaining it. “I’m pleased and proud that RIOC will be taking over this project,” said an emotional David Kraut. “This honors [former RIDA president] Jim Bates’ work.”
2. Board Approves Rivercross Ground Lease Settlement
Years of negotiations came to a conclusion tonight as the Board approved increasing the Rivercross ground rent to $2.5 million annually. RIOC will also receive a transfer fee of 1% per unit, at the time of a sale. The increase is a result of the building’s decision to leave the Mitchell Lama housing program and become market rate without an affordability plan. The increased ground rent will result in higher maintenance fees for tenants. Current residents who are unable to afford the increased fees can apply for a deferral. The deferred fees will be due when the unit is sold. RIOC says that, as of 2014 when negotiations began, it was estimated that 29% of homeowners would qualify for a deferral. Rivercross resident Howard Polivy abstained from voting.
3. $96,000 for New Security Cameras
There are currently 73 closed-circuit security cameras across the Island, half of which are past their prime and failing. Tonight the Board approved $96,008.10 for the purchase and installation of 36 new cameras. According to PSD Chief Jack McManus, the cameras have a deterrent effect on crime and have been useful in the past in closing cases with the NYPD's 114th precinct.
4. Youth Center Renovations Coming – Plus Soccer
RIOC is finalizing plans to renovate the two-story Youth Center at 506 Main Street, with construction hopefully taking place over the summer. Rosenthal hopes to be able to announce a contractor at the Board's June meeting. On May 5, the Youth Center will launch a youth soccer league for students in 6th through 12th grade. Games will be held Saturdays at 9am through June. Register by April 30. For more info or to volunteer, email RIYouthSoccer@rioc.ny.gov.
5. RIOC Hires Expert to Evaluate Helix Traffic Issues
In her president’s report, RIOC President Susan Rosenthal acknowledged Islanders’ overwhelming unhappiness at the ongoing traffic jams resulting from the Helix repairs. She also said PSD had given out “100 or so” summonses to drivers failing to follow traffic procedures at the intersection. RIOC has hired Sam Schwartz Engineering, a well-know traffic and transportation planning firm, to evaluate the traffic situation around the Helix and see whether any improvements can be made. Fingers crossed!
Quote of the Night:
“It’s in a lot worse shape than anyone thought and it’s going to take a while.”
– RIOC President Susan Rosenthal on current state of Helix repairs.