Updated: 2:51pm for addition of City Council Member Lappin's Response As reported on Crain New York Business.com the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt institute is applying for $25 million in Federal stimulus monies to supplement the funds they themselves could not raise in 30 plus years for the planned Four Freedoms Park to be built on Roosevelt Island. While the creation of the park will create jobs in the short term I still don't believe this is the best use of public monies at this time.
"The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute wants roughly $25 million to create a park on Roosevelt Island that was designed years ago by legendary architect Louis Kahn to honor the 32nd president.
“We can begin construction in June, provide 300 jobs and be an incredible tourist attraction for New York,” says former diplomat William vanden Heuvel, who founded the institute.
Mr. vanden Heuvel has dispatched detailed applications to Gov. David Paterson, Sen. Charles Schumer and other power brokers, but he has no idea when to expect an answer. "
Other than City Council Member Jessica Lappin's (D - 5th District) comments below no word yet from our other elected officials as to whether they support this request by FERI.
If any monies are allocated to the Park out of the stimulus funds it would be shocking if they were to receive all $25M they are asking for. As such if these monies are so allocated it should be stipulated that the public areas of the park and not the memorial site and "room" be built first for fear that the FERI folks will never raise the entire $40M plus they project the Parks creation will require.
City Council Member Jessica Lappin's comments re FERI's request (courtesy of the council member's Press Secretary, John Moore):
“I do support the use of federal stimulus money to support this project. In the short term, the construction of the park will directly create 200 construction jobs over the 30 months that it will take to complete the project. In the longer term, the completion of this project will make Roosevelt Island a destination for tourists and others who wish to visit the only memorial to Franklin Roosevelt in his home state. With the design of the park completed, this is a “shovel-ready” project that will have both short and long term benefits for the Island and for our city.”