David Stone
Foundations uprooted in Lighthouse Park bridge replacement project.
Foundations uprooted in Lighthouse Park bridge replacement project.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Spring fully underway, infrastructure projects on Roosevelt Island's north end with which we've been concerned are on schedule, even accelerated. Efforts to better manage capital construction, including new hires and oversight, seem to be working.

RIOC President/CEO Susan Rosenthal's commitment to vigorously catch up on neglected infrastructure has been reported before.

Completion of repairs and rebuilds on the Roosevelt Island Bridge marked a major achievement. At least three previous administrations failed to develop solutions, allowing known defects to a critical artery to linger for more than decade.

Work on the Tram's operational support structure nears completion along with upgrades to Sportspark. The Youth Center is undergoing renovations forced by years of neglect.

But with rancor over Octagon Field's delayed reconstruction still feverish and FIGMENT NYC 2019 set to draw thousands to Lighthouse Park in just six weeks, we reported our concerns about conditions north of Manhattan Park earlier this month.

This week, RIOC officials assured The Daily that there's less to worry about than observation suggests.

Octagon Field 

A contract for replacing the field's carpet, the cause of last year's closing and months of frustration, especially for soccer players, has been signed. This week, workers marked off utilities buried under the field, a necessary step in assuring that work will not adversely affect services and complicate an already bad situation. 

Weather permitting, the contractor will pull up the old artificial turf in the next week or two. Until that's complete, it's impossible to know certainly how much work lies ahead in bringing the field back to playing conditions.

Assuming nothing radically wrong is found, Octagon Field is expected to open for athletes in the fall.

On a related note, a RIOC official clarified the need for removing a number of trees bordering the field. It was reported elsewhere that the removal involved a new fence being built to limit access, but that's inaccurate.

Tree removal is necessitated by rebuilding a pathway where the downslope is too steep for handicapped access. RIOC plans to replace the trees set to be removed.

Seawall railing replacement underway, approaching Lighthouse Park.
Seawall railing replacement underway, approaching Lighthouse Park.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Seawall Railings 

When we checked on a project to replace rusted and broken seawall railings along the length of Roosevelt Island north of FDR Four Freedoms Park, crews had progressed only as far as extreme south end of Coler. Finishing work around the tip encompassing Lighthouse Park seemed distant.

But RIOC now says a second crew has been added, and they expect visitors to FIGMENT NYC 2019 on June 1st and 2nd to see only fresh, newly installed railings.

Lighthouse Park Bridges

Similarly, reconstruction of two small bridges that carry strollers and runners over East River high tides flowing into the park, twice a day, is expected to be done on time to meet the needs for June's event.

RIOC tells us that, despite the chaotic look of the area after the old bridges and surrounding infrastructure were excavated, the work ahead is more predictable and orderly with weather being the only wild card.

Concrete is set to be poured in plenty of time to set before an estimated 10,000+ arrive to see the latest in innovative, participatory art installations. The old bridges were constructed from wood, and the new construction is projected to have a much longer lifespan.  

See it, get the floor plans.
See it, get the floor plans.