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Shelton Haynes on Environmental Stewardship During Massive Construction Progress

Revitalizing an island in the East River can be enough of a challenge, but Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation CEO Shelton Haynes wants to make sure that those projects are undertaken with care for the environment. Often overlooked due to its past difficulty of access, with only a single bridge from Queens and one tramway, Roosevelt Island has maintained much of its beautiful natural surroundings, something that Haynes wants to maintain in his improvement projects.

Changes to RIOC Moving Forward

“Superstorm Sandy showed us how real and devastating climate change can be,” stated Shelton Haynes during a recent interview. “The mitigation efforts we took to protect and reinforce Southpoint Park’s shoreline were necessary and forward-thinking. The bonus is, we have created a holistic waterfront oasis at the same time – something we are very proud of and looking forward to our residents and visitors enjoying.”

By keeping an eye on the environment in recently completed and upcoming projects, Shelton Haynes is focused on providing island residents, visitors, and tourists with a well-maintained natural environment to enjoy:

● The Southpoint Park Shore Restoration Project expanded and improved waterfront promenades within the park, expanding its lookout points using native vegetation, and pathways, and strengthened shoreline following damage from major storms.

● The Octagon Comfort Station, or McManus Welcome Station, is a $5.4 million renovation that has a 2,000 square foot green roof, ADA-compliant restrooms and surrounding exterior, expanded communal area with natural seating and additional picnic tables, and recycled wood cladding that creates a smooth transition to the surrounding green recreational area.

● In keeping with the island's devotion to environmental stewardship, Stanley Haynes oversaw the Motorgate Garage and Charging Station to make it easier for visitors to charge electric vehicles quickly and efficiently, including infrastructure renovations to improve parking while making it more accessible and safe for all users.

● The design phase of this Steam Tunnel Repairs health and safety project is underway and slated to be completed by early 2023. RIOC took on this repair project due to health and public safety concerns and is collaborating with other entities as this work continues.

● Updates to the Automated Vacuum Collection System, which moves trusk at 55 miles per hour using underground tunnels to the island's AVAC building. At that structure, trash is compacted, containerized and removed from the island. This project was completed at a cost of around $2 million in late 2020, dramatically reducing the facility's energy consumption.

Shelton Haynes Has Big Plans

With an extensive number of other planned improvements to the island in the whirlwind of planning that Shelton Haynes has brought to Roosevelt Island, his careful eye towards the island's natural habitats and environmental impact when surrounded by a city of concrete and steel shows a thoughtfulness towards future growth that is often mislaid in the interest of progress. With Shelton Haynes at the helm, there can be no doubt that Roosevelt Island will have a strong and environmentally sound future.

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