Preservation Issues

Governors Island Alliance Charts Independence

December, 2011

The Governors Island Alliance passed measures that will lead to its independence as a non-profit organization at a meeting at the Conservancy offices on December 6. The GIA has been housed within the Regional Plan Association since it was founded in 1995.

GIA’s mission is to build a constituency for the Island, promote appropriate new development, and the preservation and reuse of the historic buildings. Some 448,000 New Yorkers and tourists visited the Island in the 2011 summer season. The goal is to provide long term advocacy through successive City administrations.

While Mayor Bloomberg has made creation of a new park on the Island a priority, the Alliance wants to ensure that future Mayors complete and maintain the park. The Alliance also believes that finding new uses for the historic buildings that give the Island its character is an essential part of the providing revenue for the Island.

The Landmarks Conservancy was a founding member of the Alliance and has a seat on its executive committee. The Conservancy’s main interest is preserving and promoting the historic building and forts.

Shortly before the GIA meeting, the Conservancy testified at a City Council oversight hearing on current developments on the Island. The Conservancy generally supported the City’s Governors Island Trust plans for repairs on many of the historic structures. We also noted that the Conservancy commissioned a pro bono assessment of fire risk and protection for the structures from expert Chris Marrion and discussed the findings with Trust staff. The Trust’s plans would require Island personnel to detect a fire, then report it to the City Fire Department, which would have to travel to the Island.

The Conservancy testified that we hoped there would eventually be direct notification of alarms to the Fire Department and the reopening of the shuttered Island firehouse. Read our testimony