Roosevelt Islander Online: Construction Starts This Week Of $I Million Accessibility Improvements Project For Disabled People At Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park

On March 16, the
Disability Rights Advocates
(DRA) filed a lawsuit claiming that the FDR Four Freedoms Park, a:

More than 3 years later, good news. Installation of the FDR Park staircase
wheelchair platform lift and other accessibility improvements will begin this

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced
today work will start on a $1 million project to enhance disability access
at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park in New York City.

Starting next week and concluding in late spring, work will include a new
incline platform lift at the granite Grand Stairway and renovation of two
aggregate stone pathways to enhance accessibility.

“This project will ensure that all New Yorkers can enjoy equal access to
this important memorial to a New Yorker who was one of our greatest
leaders,” said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. “At Parks, we value
doing what is needed so that our Parks and historic sites are open to all.”

The project is supported by a $250,000 allocation from New York City Council
Member Mark Levine and $250,000 grant from State Assembly Member Rebecca
Seawright, with the balance supported by NY Works.

Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright said, “I am proud to have given $250,000
in grant money that was needed to upgrade the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four
Freedoms State Park making it ADA compliant so that all New Yorkers can have
access. The park has been a magnificent addition to the Roosevelt Island and
New York City communities. During the pandemic we have relied on our parks
and open spaces to be an escape and the Four Freedoms Park needs to be
accessible. I commend State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid, Four Freedoms
Park Conservancy CEO Howard Axel, and Vice Chair Sally Minard for seeing
this need and getting the work done.”

Senator José M. Serrano said, “As the State Senator representing Roosevelt
Island and as Chair of the Senate Committee overseeing State Parks, I am
very pleased that work will begin to make accessibility enhancements at Four
Freedoms Park. These improvements will make it possible for every New Yorker
to fully experience all that this treasured park has to offer. Thank you to
Assembly Member Seawright and Council Member Levine for their support of the
project and to Commissioner Kulleseid for his commitment to ensuring our
parks and public spaces are accessible to New Yorkers living with

New York City Council Member Mark Levine said, “Over the past year, I think
everybody in our city gained a new appreciation for the importance of our
public spaces and the need to make sure they are accessible and well
maintained. Four Freedoms Park is one of New York City’s true masterpieces
in our park system, but needed overdue and important upgrades to make it ADA
compliant. I am thrilled that funds from the City Council enabled work on
this important project to start and eventually allow all New Yorkers to
experience that magical ascent up the park’s iconic stairs.”

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos said, “Four Freedoms Park should be
easily accessible to everyone. Thank you to the state Office of Parks,
Recreation and Historic Preservation for committing to increasing
accessibility in the park. Once completed the ramp will go a long way in
helping many tourists and visitors enjoy access.”
During construction, access to the park on Roosevelt Island will be limited
to the western esplanade at the Manhattan side, the grassy area adjacent to
the Room, and the Room at the southern tip of the park. 

FDR Four Freedoms State Park is wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are also
available for visitor use free-of-charge at the State Park entrance booth.

Designed in 1973 by architect Louis Kahn and completed in 2012, the
four-acre memorial is located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in New
York City. The park champions universal human rights as defined by President
Roosevelt in his January 6, 1941 “Four Freedoms” speech.

Located just 1,500 feet across the East River from the United Nations
Headquarters, the park offers panoramic views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and
Queens. The park is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 8
p.m. in summer months.

Since opening in 2012, more than 1.4 million people have visited the
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf
courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 78 million people
annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit, download the free NY
State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518-474-0456. Also, connect on
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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