Frank Farance Credited With Wrestling Bureaucracy Into Submission

With a little help from friends and RIOC, "The Rock" reunion is now a go

Updated 13 weeks ago David Stone
Frank Farance (Right at the controls) credited with persuading RIOC to lower fees to make the reunion possible, rocking at The Rock.
Frank Farance (Right at the controls) credited with persuading RIOC to lower fees to make the reunion possible, rocking at The Rock.
File photo credit: Frank Farance

We reported last month that the planned reunion of friends whose roots on Roosevelt Island extend as far back as the contemporary community's beginnings was in jeopardy because of excessive fees demanded by RIOC, but late yesterday, organizer Larry Slade announced on Facebook, "Great news about the RI Reunion on September 7, 2019 at Lighthouse Park...the RI Reunion 2019 is ON!"

In the early days, when the WIRE buildings were the only buildings, locals nicknamed Roosevelt Island "The Rock" in recognition of its core, a two-mile long protrusion of Manhattan schist that a glacier stripped clean as the last ice age advanced, then retreated from what was to become the greatest city in the world.

Then, nature, followed by generations of builders, added soil and foundations and community. The result was a place that many of the early pioneers who settled in the "City of Tomorrow" fell in love with, its virtues of economy, open spaces and neighborliness near addicting.

But their plans for a next reunion of The Rock's human legacies in September took a jolt when RIOC hit them with a $7,500 fee to set up in Lighthouse Park.

Failing to make headway in getting RIOC to relent, Slade turned as so many do here to Frank Farance for help. Farance's tenacity is as well-known as is his capacity for effectively getting under RIOC's skin.

"I started the process of trying to get them to waive it but could not get any movement," Slade explained on Facebook. "Then, someone suggested that I call Frank Farance and see if he could 'persuade' them to waive that absurd fee.

"Frank...sprang into action. Leaning, twisting, cajoling, and presenting the argument as to why it makes sense for RIOC to waive the permit fee for a reunion of its former (and some current) residents."

Community Affairs Supervisor Jessica Murray said, in response, "RIOC is conducting internal discussions to evaluate and decide upon fee structures for these types of activities. We will communicate with the applicant and the community as soon as possible. RIOC is committed to supporting community activities at all of our island amenities."

“Unfortunately, we didn’t  have a policy in place for a request like this when we received it,” Susan Rosenthal, President and CEO of RIOC, told The Daily.

"Our initial response was based on fees we charge for events in Lighthouse Park like film shoots. In the weeks since the alumni group contacted us, we have established a policy to handle similar requests. We are waiving the base fee for the non-exclusive use of Lighthouse Park but would charge a fee for exclusive use of the barbecue grills. We also have always charged a small fee for amplified sound. We are pleased to have established a policy that is fair and reasonable and look forward to helping the alumni organization make their reunion a success.”

Slade gave all the credit to Farance.

"Frank persuaded them it would be in their best interests to waive the fee. And, today they agreed!"

With a little help from friends and RIOC, "The Rock" reunion is now a go

Credit where credit's due, RIOC listened and stepped up in support, dramatically reducing the fee and making The Rock reunion possible for September.

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