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Participatory Design & Consensus Building

Roosevelt Island

Ms. Russo, as Director of Planning and Development for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, spearheaded the initial Implementation Plan for this new 15-acre park, designed by Lee Weintraub. The plan was conceived with a large community task force. Ms. Russo defined a process for the community to articulate and prioritize the park elements to fit their desired 35 acres of program within the 15 acre reality -- balancing active, passive and 200 semi-public community gardens.

Time pressure to relocate park uses from another housing development site, multiple funding sources, and limited resources requiring phasing all complicated the design effort. Final design resolution required intense negotiation with NYC's DEP Third Water Tunnel project whose shaft lays both below and directly in the middle of the park site.

With continued community support from the Octagon Park Design Task Force, 8-acres of the park were realized, including securing several matching grants and the community's donation of well over $200,000 in labor.


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