Shelton Haynes: A Visionary Leader Shaping the Future of Roosevelt Island

Shelton J. Haynes, the President and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), is a visionary leader actively shaping the future of Roosevelt Island. With a steadfast commitment to community engagement, transparency, and sustainable development, Haynes has brought about transformative changes that have elevated the island’s status as a vibrant and inclusive community.

Haynes’ leadership focuses on forward-thinking initiatives that address future challenges. Recognizing the impact of climate change, he prioritized projects to safeguard Roosevelt Island against extreme weather events. The Southpoint Park Shoreline Restoration Project, an $11 million undertaking, expanded and improved waterfront promenades and fortified the shoreline. Roosevelt Island is better prepared to weather future storms.

Shelton Haynes Has Big Plans 

Haynes’ vision for a sustainable and eco-friendly future is further reflected in the modernization of the Automated Vacuum Collection System (AVAC). This innovative project, costing approximately $2 million, significantly reduced energy consumption at the facility. The AVAC system now efficiently whisks garbage from residential buildings at 55 miles per hour through underground tunnels to a compaction facility, promoting eco-conscious waste management on the island.

In addition to environmental initiatives, Haynes has spearheaded transformative projects that enhance the island’s infrastructure and amenities. The Tram Elevator Project, completed at about $7 million, introduced ADA-compliant elevators with an all-glass facade, significantly improving the station’s functionality and aesthetics. This upgrade not only benefits the diverse resident groups, including seniors and those with disabilities, but also reduces energy consumption, aligning with the island’s commitment to sustainability.

Dedication to RIOC And The Community 

Haynes’ dedication to community empowerment and public art has resulted in meaningful installations celebrating diversity and inclusion. The FDR Hope Memorial and The Girl Puzzle sculptures are iconic symbols, paying homage to the island’s namesake, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and honoring the resilience of women like Nellie Bly. These public art pieces beautify the island and inspire visitors and residents alike, fostering a sense of pride in their community’s history and values.

Furthermore, Haynes recognizes the importance of providing opportunities for the island’s youth to thrive and grow. The Roosevelt Island Youth Center underwent a $2.1 million renovation to become a hub of development and engagement. This safe space offers a wide range of enrichment, recreational, and educational programs, promoting personal growth and team building among the island’s youth.

As a champion of affordable housing and economic development, Haynes has played a crucial role in securing investments that benefit the island’s residents. Projects like Riverwalk Building #9, a new affordable housing complex, and the Graduate Roosevelt Island, the island’s first hotel, reflect his commitment to improving the quality of life for all.

Commitment To Community

Through the Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Fund, Haynes supports local nonprofits that work tirelessly to enhance the community. These grants have enabled initiatives that offer educational opportunities, cultural enrichment, improved health services, and a better environment for all residents.

Haynes’ strategic vision and commitment to community engagement have set Roosevelt Island on a path of prosperity and progress. Under his leadership, RIOC has accomplished remarkable feats, transforming the island into a model of sustainability, inclusion, and resilience. As Haynes looks to the future, his unwavering dedication to the island’s growth ensures that Roosevelt Island’s best days are yet to come.

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