A message from the Acting President & CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), Shelton J. Haynes
The message below is a response to community concerns regarding the Southpoint Park Project:
The goal of the Roosevelt Island Southpoint Park project is to repair the erosion of the east and west seawalls and is critical to ensure the health and safety of the public while visiting Southpoint Park. The proposed plan was reviewed and approved by several federal, state, and local agencies charged with protecting the environment, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)– Fish and Wildlife Services, the National Marine Fisheries Services (NOAA), and the New York State Departmental of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The RIOC Board of Directors unanimously approved the plan earlier this year.
Over the course of the project timeline, RIOC has welcomed feedback from the community and will ensure that the Southpoint Park project preserves the natural habit and wildlife that currently exist, while also enhancing the surrounding greenspace paths. The required work involves the removal of toxic soil that has been inundated with overgrown landfills, choked with invasive vegetation, that must be removed before the seawall can be repaired. Roughly 99 small trees (ten inches in diameter) will be removed and replaced with 79 trees. The tree removal is necessary to access the area to be remediated. In addition, 870 shrubs, 645 other indigenous plantings, and approximately 14,500 sq. ft. of new grass that will encourage more wildlife to visit the shoreline. This project must be completed in order to prevent further deterioration of the seawall due to the ever-increasing impacts of climate change.
Once complete, the waterfront will create a safer, more natural environment where wildlife can thrive. The riprap rock will also be more resilient to future storms and more conducive for wildlife to reach the shore from the river.
Due to community concerns of the project’s potential effects on local flora and fauna, we are pushing the start date back. In the interim, RIOC will provide the community with regular updates on the project through meetings, press releases, its website and social media. We will also provide a place on the website where the community can provide questions and feedback on the project as well as see updates on the progress of the project. To address the immediate concerns of the community, a virtual town hall with Assembly Member Seawright has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 14, 2020 (click HERE for info). We look forward to working with Assembly Member Seawright and our other stakeholders on bringing this critically needed project to completion.
Please see the below photos detailing the current conditions of our shoreline, as well as a rendering of the completed project.