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Posted on: November 18, 2021

Blackwell Plaza Gets an Upgrade

Blackwell Plaza Improvement Project Opening

Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) will welcome the holiday season with a newly renovated Blackwell Plaza, a cornerstone to Roosevelt Island’s Main Street, when it opens to the public on Friday, November 19th.

“The safety of our valued community, as well as the visitors we are honored to have here on Roosevelt Island, is a top priority to RIOC, said Shelton J. Haynes, President and CEO of RIOC. “These necessary and aesthetic upgrades will serve to enhance everyone’s experience on the island.”

The plaza, which was home to uneven and broken pavers, damaged sidewalks, a play area in disrepair, non-ADA compliant walkways, and a fountain that has not worked in several years, will once again shine as a safe, accessible, and welcoming area for the community and visitors alike. Located between the Landmarked Blackwell House and the Roosevelt Island branch of the New York Public Library, the polished plaza will include safer and wider sidewalks, ADA compliant walkways, a renovated and expanded accessible outdoor group seating area, a working fountain, and an irrigation system to support the addition of 127 new shrubs and hedges in coordination with A Living Library.

“The original design for the plaza was completed in the 1970’s,” said Prince Shah, Assistant Director of Capital Planning and Projects. “Our goal was to pay homage to the original design while making modern programmatic upgrades that all can enjoy.”

RIOC’s hope for this area is that it will once again become a sound place of gathering, community, education, and memory-making. The project, which began in July of this year, came in under budget.

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