City Island Rising, a newly formed civic group, held its first public meeting on Thursday, April 11.
One of the goals of the new organization is to foster dialogue between people living in the small seaside community, as well as to roll out the welcome mat to both longtime residents and newcomers, said founding members.
The first meeting was a listening session for this reason, with the group espousing its beliefs that a “rising tide lifts all boats” and a “can do attitude and can do spirit,” while offering an improved channel of communication between the island’s residents.
The meeting’s sign in sheet contained over 70 signatures, and a number of interested residents who couldn’t attend that evening watched the initial meeting via live streaming, said Dan Treiber, a CIR founding member.
“We are very intentional about our ‘from the ground up’ philosophy,” said Treiber, adding that a goal of the session was to bring about an environment where “everybody feels included.”
The first public gathering of the group focused on the community’s strengths, challenges and issues, as well as the participants’ general concerns. The suggestions don’t always have to be feasible, but all ideas are important, said Treiber.
Islander David Diaz, who recently moved to the island from Throggs Neck, is one of the organization’s initiators.
“They just want to do the right thing,” said Diaz, of the people who attended the first meeting. “I wasn’t expecting the turnout that we got, and it just shows me that there are people on the island who care.”
Diaz, who spent his lifetime in the borough at Eastchester Gardens and in Throggs Neck, and who is an environmental activist, said that his personal concerns of beach access at the end streets and traffic from the island’s many eateries were addressed at the meeting.
The people who are heading the organization expect the community to be proactive and define solutions together as opposed to waiting for outsiders to help, he said.
Theresa Cavinee’s main concerns are the availability of childcare, transportation issues and working with the NYPD, keeping the island clean and pollution to a minimum, youth activities and parking.
She said she would like to see the establishment of a youth center or programming for the island’s teen population.
Another founding member, John Doyle, said that CIR will utilize 21st century methods, adding that he was very pleased that the crowd assembled was a broad representation of City Island’s population.
The group, which held its first meeting at Clipper Coffee, plans to hold monthly or bi-monthly meetings at local businesses, building stronger bonds between merchants and community.