Sportspark Opening Delayed Again As EADD Hobbles RIOC

Sportspark Opening Delayed Again As EADD Hobbles RIOC

The Sportspark opening got pushed way back again as RIOC posted a smiley-face Advisory explaining nothing. A long-promised 2022 opening went up in smoke. Longstanding Elbow from Ass Distinction Disorder is the likely cause.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

As recently as RIOC’s October Board Meeting, mumbling President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes assured the community that Sportspark was on track for its “late 2022” reopening. That timeframe was, in itself a delay.

But RIOC’s secretive operations upstairs in Blackwell House were already prevaricating.


“That is a joke!!!!!!!!,” a closely-connected insider told us after seeing Wednesday’s advisory. 

“That should have opened in October.” 

Before he was fired in August for suspicious reasons, CFO John O’Reilly led the project along with subcontractor LiRo. Whoever replaced the managers remained nameless. And apparently talentless too.

The Sportspark opening was so close to ready that an expert completed a preliminary fire inspection – in August – and there were “no significant issues. It just needed to be managed…”

Shelton and company “can’t manage their way out of a wet paper bag,” our informant concluded.

Sportspark with reconstruction well underway way back in July 2021. Core work was mostly finished a year later, but short on qualified staff, RIOC could not pull the opening over the line for at least six months. In the meantime, in a stroke of uncompromised foolishness, CEO Haynes tried pitching the location as a home for a bank. Really.

From a Hopeful Sportspark Opening to Another RIOC Fiasco

RIOC’s advisory was remarkable because, composed with amateurish brilliance, it said next to nothing. That was no mistake. But it firmly pushed back the opening until “late winter.” That’s March, folks.

The announcement, marginally literate, spun positive.

The highly anticipated renovations to the Sportspark Complex are near completion. In the coming weeks, a more detailed announcement will be made concerning hours of operation, improvements to the Complex, pricing structure, permitting information, and other pertinent details you may find of interest. 

The facility’s grand opening is slated for Late-Winter 2023, equipped with a new aquatics and management teams; and RIOC is in the final stages of coordinating with New York City agencies to secure the Department of Building and fire safety permits needed to open.

RIOC Advisory, December 14th, 2022.

That’s all they had for a community waiting for word on the long-promised 2022 reopening.

Why was it delayed another three months minimum? No explanation and the “permits” excuse had already been rolled out back in October.


Let’s be clear. Massive employee departures under Haynes, including capable pros like Jonna Carmona-Graf, Deborah Kustka and John O’Reilly, left the bumbling state agency with even less talent.

This harms Roosevelt Island Daily as the Hochul-Haynes duo replaces skilled personnel with loyalists and political patronage hacks. As a result, the Hochul-Haynes administration can’t get things done.

With Governor Kathy Hochul now reelected and hovering protectively over Haynes, Islanders should brace themselves for more of this EADD-hobbled blabber.

But where are the clowns
Send in the clowns
Don't bother, they're here

-Stephen Sondheim/Send in the Clowns from A Little Night Music

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