• June 2, 2023
Shelton Haynes

Shelton Haynes and RIOC: Propelling Roosevelt Island’s Renaissance

Roosevelt Island, a scenic strip of land in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, is experiencing a renaissance. The credit for the island’s revival goes to Shelton Haynes, the president, and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC). Under his leadership, RIOC has transformed the island with initiatives that showcase its unique cultural identity and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors.

Preserving History and Embracing Culture

Roosevelt Island boasts a fascinating past with landmarks and captivating stories at every corner. From the legacy of President Roosevelt at Four Freedoms Park to remnants of former institutions like the “insane asylum” and smallpox hospital, the island’s commitment to preserving its heritage is evident. Under Haynes’ guidance, RIOC has championed efforts to protect and promote the island’s unique cultural identity, ensuring that future generations can appreciate its historical significance.

A Small-Town Vibe with Modern Amenities

Despite being part of New York City, Roosevelt Island offers a respite from the urban hustle and bustle. Operating like a small town, the island provides essential services and amenities that enhance residents’ and visitors’ quality of life. Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s initiatives, including a dedicated Public Safety Department, a vibrant Youth Center, free transportation, and horticultural teams maintaining the island’s green spaces, have created a tight-knit community with a strong sense of belonging.

Pioneering Capital Projects

Haynes takes pride in RIOC’s ambitious capital project improvement program, which has injected nearly $150 million into Roosevelt Island’s development. These investments have revitalized key areas and attractions, including Blackwell Park, which is undergoing transformative renovations to enhance recreational facilities. The island’s roadways have been reevaluated to improve traffic flow and parking while introducing the first bike lane path along the East Promenade encourages sustainable transportation. Moreover, the restoration and expansion of Southpoint Park have attracted visitors and earned accolades, such as the New York Landmarks Lucy G. Moses Award. These initiatives reflect RIOC’s commitment to creating a thriving environment for all to enjoy.

A Bright Future for Roosevelt Island

Thanks to the visionary leadership of Shelton Haynes and the dedication of RIOC, Roosevelt Island is experiencing a renaissance with ongoing projects such as the forthcoming state-of-the-art fitness and recreation facility. The island continues to evolve and meet the diverse needs of its residents and visitors. Whether exploring the enchanting Cherry Blossom festival in spring or witnessing the spectacular Fourth of July fireworks over the East River, Roosevelt Island promises unforgettable experiences.

As Roosevelt Island emerges as a hidden gem in the heart of New York City, Shelton Hayes and RIOC stand at the forefront, steering its progress. Through their transformative efforts, this once-underappreciated island has blossomed into a thriving community that harmoniously blends history, culture, and modernity.