Visible Scars on Roosevelt Island

Well Past Due Date, DEP Drags Ugly Feet on Water Project Construction

Updated 13 weeks ago David Stone
Ugly construction fencing, left abandoned by DEP along the West Promenade, is an eyesore that won't go away.
Ugly construction fencing, left abandoned by DEP along the West Promenade, is an eyesore that won't go away.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

"We are just as frustrated as the community is with the lack of progress on this access road project being handled by the City’s Department of Environmental Protection," said a spokesman for RIOC President/CEO Susan Rosenthal, who's made Island beautification a theme of her administration. Alonza Robertson supplied additional details.

"The road’s construction – which is to be grass paved and blend with the existing Octagon building campus and be used for emergency responses only – started April 23 and was expected to be complete by June," Robertson told The Daily.

Well Past Due Date, DEP Drags Ugly Feet on Water Project Construction
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But the road, although started, is nowhere near completion. Abandoned better describes it.

We first reported on road construction supported the critical Water Tunnel #3, a much delayed project intended to replace century old tunnels providing water to Queens and Brooklyn, RIOC's then Compliance Officer Gretchen Reynolds said, "It is my understanding that the access road located near the Octagon already exists and DEP only needs to shift a couple of the bbq stations and young trees to another location in that general area to accommodate their needs."

A season's worth of weeds and overgrown grass tell the story of an abandoned project.
A season's worth of weeds and overgrown grass tell the story of an abandoned project.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

By March, they seemed ready to go with a single exception.

DEP's Associate Project Manager Justin Rivellino told RIOC, by email, that Sabrina, the statue greeting strollers and runners along the West Promenade, will also have to be relocated.

"Several trees adjacent to the Octagon, some picnic tables and barbecue grills, along with the iconic Sabrina statue were to be replaced and or relocated nearby to clear space," Robertson confirmed.

But now, as photos taken today show, the relocations took place but the road remains no more than ugly rows of construction fencing with a season's weeds growing between them.

Picnickers still have grills but no view of the water or the skyline.
Picnickers still have grills but no view of the water or the skyline.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

"We have reached out to NYC Council Member Ben Kallos for help in getting a project update," Robertson noted. "Our General Counsel informed me this morning that we should expect additional information this week about when the project is expected to restart and be finished."

We'll be watching along with RIOC to see how much longer we'll be stuck with DEP's ugly fencing.

Maiella, Italian dining by the water
Maiella, Italian dining by the water
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