First Public Step in Six Month Process

Capital Projects Highlight RIOC Budget Planning Session

Updated 3 weeks ago David Stone
Octagon Field is nearly ready for the new playing field to be installed, likely in September.
Octagon Field is nearly ready for the new playing field to be installed, likely in September.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Wednesday afternoon, RIOC execs and board members settled in for a planning session where CFO John O'Reilly offered a rough overview of next year's possible budget. But the bigger news is in reported results and where they're taking Roosevelt Island's infrastructure.

Upgrading infrastructure has been a keynote of RIOC President/CEO Susan Rosenthal's three year tenure. Investment is paying off in visible results, from seawall railings to playing fields, and progress is set to roll on an established continuum.

All that will be open for public comment as the full board, with three new members, begins essential work on a budget for the next fiscal year with implications far beyond. 

Hard numbers will wait for a future report when we have a longer look at O'Reilly's suggestions for board consideration and public discussion, but improving infrastructure will stay a major theme for the foreseeable future.

Hardware anchors newly installed seawall railings.
Hardware anchors newly installed seawall railings.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Increase in Capital Spending

A point of pride for Rosenthal is a huge increase in spending on capital projects. That includes long neglected needs like replacements for crumbling seawall railings, rebuilding the youth center and returning Blackwell House to public use.

The numbers are eye-popping.

O'Reilly said that, by the end of this fiscal year in March, RIOC will have spent somewhere between $20 and $25 million on capital projects. That compares with an average of around $3 million over the past seven years. 

And that's a number that, because it includes projects in progress like the Youth Center, will remain robust as the Island's physical foundations strengthen.

Even on a cloudy day, the view of Roosevelt Island infrastructure improves.
Even on a cloudy day, the view of Roosevelt Island infrastructure improves.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Highlights...

  • The yearlong seawall railing project, filling a need lingering for over a decade, is virtually complete. It combines with new World's Fair benches for a fresh look along the waterfront, although improved safety is probably more significant.
  • Soccer fans can plan to celebrate. Octagon Field's rehabilitation is near completion. Its new bordering apron in place, crews expect to roll out the new carpet in September with an official opening soon to follow.
  • Hurdles have been cleared and work on the Tram Elevator being built on 2nd Avenue should resume as soon as the contractor can reassemble work crews. RIOC may be able to estimate a completion date soon after.
Other significant items, like plans involving Tram revenue versus expenses, are under discussion, but we will wait for harder numbers before reporting on all that in the coming weeks.
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