This week marks the two year anniversary of the day RIOC began the wholesale destruction Southpoint Park. Everyone agreed that the seawalls needed fixing, but there the agreements end. Going against community wishes developed during yearlong planning, the state ripped away to devastating effect.
by David Stone
Then and Now at Southpoint
Consider the contrasts along the east shore of Southpoint Park.
The same view in 2022.
What RIOC promised they were building in this spot…
What Could Have Been Made of Southpoint Park
Throughout 2018, Roosevelt Islanders took part in planning a future for Southpoint Park with Fitzgerald and Halliday. The plan was approved by the board in early 2019, and President/CEO Susan Rosenthal said they were ready to go.
It was all good until it wasn’t.
For reasons unexplained and unchallenged by its out of the loop board, RIOC’s deep thinkers independently changed the plan. The result is the embarrassment you see today.
What Southpoint Might Have Been Before RIOC Cancelled the Community Plan
Roosevelt Islanders agreed on the need for a refreshment stand in Southpoint.
Splurging on the Shelton J. Haynes/Langan Rock Farm, RIOC invested exactly nothing inside the park itself. But this seasonal stand reflects exactly what the community called for and RIOC dismissed.
There was once even a perfect location for it.
Finally, the community wanted some place for kids to play. Like this…
We even found a welcoming location under shady trees for it.
Unless and until some way is found for bringing responsible, community-oriented leadership to Roosevelt Island, results like these are inevitable. Neither elected officials nor RIOC’s hapless board seems able or willing to change Governor Hochul’s hold on Roosevelt Island through Shelton J. Haynes and company.
Best hope: When the state’s lease runs out in 2068, but with development nearing completion, maybe an early termination is possible. Maybe, one day, Roosevelt Islanders will vote for the leaders who spend their money currently without any kind of consent.
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