What You Missed at RIOC's March Board Meeting

March 8, 2019


 Blackwell House


The nine-person board might be four board members down but there was still plenty to get done at last night’s meeting of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Board of Directors.


A new owner’s representative firm, Long Island based LiRo Group, was selected to replace Gardner & Theobald, Inc. hired in April 2018 to help manage RIOC’s four-year $90 million capital improvement plan currently underway. RIOC President Susan Rosenthal explained that the termination was based on “poor communication."


From a long-awaited Blackwell House ribbon cutting to a new turf field at the Octagon, here's what you need to know:


​RIOC's Robert Green, project manager for Blackwell House explained at the Operations Advisory meeting that they “replaced all three floors, stabilized the exterior wall, and rebuilt the house without demolishing it.” Inspection of the house is scheduled for Monday, and Rosenthal said, “We’re going to be planning a ribbon cutting soon.”


According to the artist’s website, the dollar is a powerful symbol of his admiration for the United States. He sculpts series 1995 dollars, the year when the dollar was at its highest levels, in bright colors and sizes.


French sculptor Karl Lagasse is donating a sculpture to RIOC. At the Operations Advisory committee meeting the location discussed for the sculpture was west of the Octagon soccer field, where the exercise equipment currently is, on a high slope near the DEP site. At the board meeting, Rosenthal expressed hope that that this gift might entice other artists to donate sculptures and could bring more visitors and revenue to the Island. 


As part of the ground lease for Southtown 8 and 9, Hudson Related is building a comfort station at Firefighter’s Field. As such, the field will need relocating; the softball lines need to be shifted north. The project is more than just adding a comfort station, RIOC is planning bleachers, landscaping and a new backstop, the fence behind home plate that keeps the ball on the playing field. There was no timeline for this project given at the meeting.


The Octagon Field is one step closer to having new turf installed. Though the RFP for the Octagon Field, that included a comfort station and landscaping went out on February 7, Prince Shah, the project manager for the project explained that there were no bidders. He asked the board to go forward with a field renovation now, and explained that a new RFP for the comfort station would go out within the week.


RIOC Project Manager, Prince Shah, presents plans for the Octagon Field at the Operations Advisory meeting, last week.


Without an RFP or the benefit of the bidding process, the board voted to offer the contract for the field to LandTek Group, Inc who Rosenthal described as “enthusiastic,” and said, “We are asking you to allow us to go forward with a company who was involved in the RFP and understands the RFP.” 


Lighthouse Park is getting some work done in time for FIGMENT, the participatory arts festival coming to the Island this spring. The footbridges are being replaced by concrete and the contractors will install concrete footing and a concrete pedestrian approach. The Lighthouse itself is also part of a restoration project that is ongoing.


Sportspark will soon receive ADA bathrooms, full size lockers, showers and new windows, said Joan Cassano, RIOC’s manager for the project at the board meeting. The pool area will be upgraded too; “It’s in dire need of renovation, a facelift to bring it back to life,” she explained at the Operations Advisory meeting where this project was first discussed. The design phase will take 14 months, and the construction nine months.


The board approved the hiring of U. Arias Corp to compliment RIOC’s increased focus on Island-wide landscaping and maintenance. Successional tree planting, as well as the constant monitoring of the Island’s 13 irrigation systems would all come under this contract. Director of Parks and Recreation for RIOC, Mary Cuneen said that the group is currently doing work for RIOC and they also offer an on-call certified arborist.  “This will really help us out because we’ve had to go out and get an arborist. Now we’ll be able to be more proactive,” Cuneen explained at the Operations Advisory Committee meeting where she first presented this.


A Motorgate project, led by RIOC’s Robert Green will improve accessibility and wayfinding in the garage. Circulation studies will be conducted and new striping will be complete along with new vehicle barriers and rail systems. Rosenthal said in her President's Report that Motorgate will never close but that motorists who park there will be notified where to park while their area is being worked on.


In her President's Report, Rosenthal said that the Youth Center was in "much greater disrepair than anyone knew." RIOC went out with a new RFP, received eight bids and are currently evaluating them. She said they will bring a contractor for the project to the April 11 RIOC Board meeting.  

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