Four Freedoms Park: Might the Money Be Better Spent?
Roosevelt Island 360 generously suggests that perhaps, given the financial crisis, the Island could do without the FDR Four Freedoms Park proposed for the Island's Southpoint Park. The Governor has budgeted $4 million in 2009 for the Park and the city is expected to match that. The Park is expected to cost at least $40 million -- and "you can bet if the park is started and [the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute] cannot raise the additional funds," says RI360, "they will be looking to the City and State to bail them out and to pony up additional funds." (The Institute says it "continues... to pursue capital funding from elected officials.")
In addition to government funding, the Institute has been soliciting private donations -- partly via a billboard put up last year, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation told tireless Four Freedoms Park opponent Roosevelt Islander, to attract the attention of United Nations delegates because "Fund raising from the UN Delegate lounge from which the sign is highly visible is very important to FERI."
While the Park plan has received mostly boosterish coverage in off-Island press, reporting in Island blogs and Roosevelt Island's Main Street Wire has been more thorough and critical. It's always noteworthy when the locals are less keen on a project than the big boys across the water.