New Park Planned at Roosevelt Island (NYC)

New York, NY, 7/14/2004The nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today that it is seeking public input for its Conceptual Master Plan for a new Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island. The site is prominently located in the middle of the East River, across from midtown Manhattan. In late 2003, the State of New York and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) requested that the Trust for Public Land lead park creation efforts at Southpoint because of the organization’s extensive experience in New York City and nationwide. TPL has taken on the project and is now seeking public input in order to develop a plan for the future park.

“We belive that this is the best new park site in New York City,” said Andy Stone, director of the Trust for Public Land’s New York City Program. “A park on this site will enhance an already wonderful Roosevelt Island and make it more of an attraction for the general public.”

The Trust for Public Land is uniquely equipped to press forward on this major park-creation project. The Trust for Public Land is the only national land conservation organization focused on land conservation for public access and public benefit, and the only one actively trying to create new parks and open space in America’s cities. Recent comparable projects include the transformation of a former petroleum tank farm in Seattle to a six-acre sculpture park working in partnership with the Seattle Art Museum, creation of 12 new school playgrounds in New York City and Newark, creation of the 14-mile Gwynns Falls Trail in Baltimore, and development of a new 13-acre central park on the last major piece of undeveloped land in Santa Fe.

TPL began its planning process in April of this year, and is now completing its analysis of existing conditions and community needs. Interested parties can view and comment on the site analysis and the results of interviews with 38 community leaders. Next, with input from an advisory committee of local leaders and citywide experts, TPL will create three different preliminary plans for the park, and solicit broad input through the website and through a public meeting on Roosevelt Island in September.

By November, TPL will create a preferred plan that will give the community and public officials feasible and highly desirable options for creating Southpoint Park, as well as budgets for construction and operation. Once the Conceptual Master Plan is accepted and approved, TPL will work to raise public and private funds, create a final design and develop the park.

In 2002, Governor George E. Pataki signed legislation that preserves open space on Roosevelt Island. “We’re excited about the prospect of a new open space on Roosevelt Island, which will serve the residents and surrounding community,” said RIOC President Herbert E. Berman. “When I came to the Island Governor Pataki gave me a mandate to improve the quality of life for the residents of Roosevelt Island. In keeping with this mission, I look forward to working with the Trust for Public Land to develop this open space into a place that they, and everyone, can enjoy.”

“Working with the Trust for Public Land on this project has revealed what goes into the creation of open space,” said Judith A. Calogero, Chairperson of the RIOC Board. “I look forward to being a part of the process and ensuring that all parties also have the opportunity to add their voice.”

“The Trust for Public Land has a national reputation as a can-do organization,” said Rose Harvey, Sr. Vice President of the Trust for Public Land. “There has been interest in seeing a park developed at the south end of Roosevelt Island for 35 years, and we are pleased to be setting in motion this process to create a park that this community wants, needs, and deserves.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization founded to conserve land for public enjoyment. TPL connects people to land through parks, recreation areas, working lands, and natural open spaces ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Working with private landowners, communities, and government agencies, TPL has helped preserve nearly 2,600 special places in 46 states including historic and natural landmarks, wilderness areas, parks, playgrounds, community gardens, and recreation areas. In the past four years, TPL’s Conservation Finance Initiative has also helped more than 500 communities establish more than $35 billion for parks and open space.