This Thursday, September 11, 2008, at the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporations's September Board of Directors meeting the FDR Memorial issue is being raised as a vote "Conditionally Designating the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute for Development of the FDR Four Freedoms Park". I must admit I am somewhat at a loss as what this actually means.
If it means a positive vote vests full control over the site to FERI without their yet securing the $40 million in funds they estimate as needed I am opposed and would counsel the voting directors to do the same. My recollection has been that RIOC President Stephen Shane has stated in the past that if FERI could not secure the funds (by dates now that have come and past) he would counsel RIOC to veto the project. This may not be his exact statement but it was my understanding of it.
I do recall that at one point the deadline was pegged to the groundbreaking of Phase I of Southpoint's development which would be when the Trust for Public Land formally starts construction of the garden area which is planned for between the Smallpox Hospital and Goldwater Hospital. Such a groundbreaking has not yet occured due to some sort of environmental study. I personally have wondered if this study was pushed back to give FERI more time but I am guessing that is just my being cynical.
Mr. Shane has stated in the past that RIOC is bound to the Kahn design, if the park is memorial is created at all, based on a long ago 1974 agreement entered into by its predesessor the RI Development Corporation as well as other State and City agencies. I just seems to me that if each of these organizations today were to state they have no interest in this design that the agreement would be null and void. The odds are but for RIOC no one at these other State and City agencies even knows this agreement exists.
As I stated above if the vote this Thursday is to formally bind RIOC to the Kahn design I ask that the voting directors vote no for reasons I have stated in prior posts that the design is from another time and no longer serves the community and detracts from the natural beauty of the site.