The RIRA Column
August 1, 2015
Happy summer, friends and neighbors! The “dog days” are upon us once again, and the RIRA Common Council hopes that the season thus far has been a safe and healthy one, full of outdoor fun, family, and memories. This is truly a magical time on Roosevelt Island, and our little ship in the East River continues to buzz with the excitement and energy that only summer can bring. It started on June 13 with another successful and well-attended Roosevelt Island Day and a presidential campaign kickoff, and has been followed by outdoor Saturday night movies at Firefighters Field, the return of Fourth of July fireworks-viewing on the East River from the Southpoint area, a Food Truck Mania evening near the subway station, and Sunset Summer Salsa dancing and Family Yoga at FDR Memorial Park, to name just a few offerings. There has never been so much to do (or not do) on Roosevelt Island. We hope you continue to explore and attend all that the Island has to offer during the waning days of summer.
Life here has, however, not been free of challenges. The Tram elevators at the Manhattan station continue to break down with no permanent solution in place, creating obstacles for our mobility-challenged in getting to Manhattan. Another bike accident near the Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix has us questioning the ability to travel safely along our one street, whether you’re a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorist. The conditions at our Sportspark’s facilities and operation of its programs continue to be unsatisfactory. The rumble of trucks up and down Main Street has increased noticeably as construction of the Cornell NYC Tech facility has begun in earnest. The unacceptable disposal conditions of commercial trash at our Southtown trash yard continue. The status of Public Purpose Funds, and the process to allocate and release monies to our Island non-profits who rely heavily on such funding, continues to be on pause. Although summer for some means vacation and fun, these (and many more) quality-of-Island-life issues continue to arise and grow. Despite the Common Council’s summer hiatus, your representatives continue to work hard addressing them all, and advocating for our community.
As the Common Council starts looking toward the end of summer and to reconvening in earnest in September, we ask each of you to help us identify the issues and concerns that affect our community – and to suggest viable solutions. Moreover, there are still open Council seats for a few buildings, especially The Octagon and Manhattan Park. Do you have an interest in collectively solving Island issues? If so, I truly hope that you will consider taking one of the seats. Not sure if it’s really for you? Come to our first fall session on September 9 at 8:00 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Center, introduce yourself, ask questions, and become engaged.
Don’t want to sit on the Council? Or, your building’s representative roster is full? Consider joining one of the many Council committees: Communication, Government Relations, Housing, Island Services, Planning, Public Safety, and Social, Cultural and Educational Services. They all need your expertise, talent, and time.
Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran of the Island, young or old, working or retired, the RIRA Common Council welcomes your fresh and innovative ideas, professional expertise, and dedication to preserving our way of life. The only way that we, as a community, have a fighting chance of doing that is if each of us has a hand in its future.