The RIRA Column

October 24, 2015

Jeffrey Escobar, President
Roosevelt Island Residents Association
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Many thanks to the families, friends, and neighbors who came out for the annual Fall for Arts Festival on October 10. Not only did the Festival give some of our Islanders an opportunity to roll up their sleeves and express themselves, but it has left us with a number of wonderful murals that now adorn the south lawns by Blackwell House. If you have not had a chance to come by and enjoy the artistic gifts of your neighbors, be sure to do so!

A very big thanks also goes to iDig2Learn, the Roosevelt Island Youth Program, PS/IS 217 PTA, Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network, Roosevelt Island Garden Club, Roosevelt Island Historical Society, and Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts (troop 3001 sponsored by Manhattan Park and troops 3244 and 3245 sponsored by RI Beacon Youth Program) for their successful hosting of phase two of the Monarch Butterfly Corridor Project at Lighthouse Park on October 17. From the popular archaeological dig box to story time, face painting, butterfly-themed art, and, of course, planting milkweed for the monarch butterflies, family fun was had by all as Islanders learned more about monarch butterflies, what people can do to help them, and how Roosevelt Island can play a key part in restoring the butterflies’ habitat and their flight migrations south to warmer weather every fall.

Public Purpose Funds

As the Public Purpose Funds (PPF) process wraps ups, and discussion of the allocation of funds continues, RIRA’s Public Purpose Funds Committee reports the following: With the conclusion last week of the applying non-profits’ public Community Presentations, the committee is currently in the process of finalizing its evaluation of the nine applications, with the intent of finalizing its recommendations and reporting to the Common Council prior to the Council’s November meeting. At that meeting, a vote will be taken on the proposed allocations, and the report will be submitted to RIOC and its Board for final decisions. If all goes well, and the pending legislation concerning the Public Purpose Funds is either signed or otherwise ratified, the applying non-profits should finally be receiving financial support before the end of the year. For more information regarding the PPF process, go to rioc.ny.gov/pdf/PPG_Guidelines.pdf or contact the Committee Chair, Dave Evans, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ferry Service

As previously reported, due to staff illness, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) had to postpone its presentation to the Common Council, the Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee, and Island residents regarding the planned Citywide Ferry Service. The presentation, which was originally scheduled for the RIRA Common Council’s October meeting, is now scheduled for 7:30 p.m. before the November 4 Common Council meeting, in the Good Shepherd Center. If you are able, plan on attending and learning more about the announced planned expansion of the City’s ferry system, including the EDC’s five proposed routes connecting 21 locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens – with a ferry stop on Roosevelt Island – to be rolled out in two phases beginning in 2017.

SC&E Committee

The RIRA Social, Cultural, and Educational Services (SC&E) Committee held a programming meeting earlier this month to tentatively plan its remaining events for the latter year of the current two-year Common Council term. From the annual Egg Hunt to the Cherry Blossom Festival and Roosevelt Island Day, many items are in the works, including a Community Readiness Program providing Islanders with emergency and disaster training, and Education Workshops on how families can navigate the City’s various public education options, including the Gifted & Talented (G&T) program. Offerings for the Island’s youth are also planned, including a Learn to Skateboard Safely program and a pizza-making class at one of our Island’s restaurants. Are you interested in volunteering for these programs and events, and/or do you have an event that you think RIRA would want to sponsor? Contact Lynne Shinozaki for more information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., attend the committee’s next meeting, and stay tuned!

Common Council Seats

With the latter year of the current two-year Common Council term under way, I strongly encourage residents of The Octagon and Manhattan Park to help fill the few open seats. The single year is a perfect way for those of you who are interested to get your “feet wet” in the business of the Common Council, to see what we’re all about, and to decide whether committing to a full two-year term is for you. We need your expertise, talent, time, and help! For more information, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Aaron Hamburger, Nominations Committee Chair, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To all the ghouls and ghosts, the RIRA Common Council wishes you a very safe and happy Halloween. See you all at this year’s Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade on October 31.

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