New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Upper East Side Patch Renovation Completed For 18th Century Roosevelt Island Home by Nick Garber

Renovation Completed For 18th Century Roosevelt Island Home

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A ribbon was cut Wednesday to mark the completion of a long-awaited renovation of the Blackwell House, a historic building on Roosevelt Island whose rehabilitation has been years in the making.

The house, built in 1796, is the oldest building on Roosevelt Island and will become a museum, housing the island's historic artifacts, archives and records.

The $2.9 million renovation was funded by the office of City Councilmember Ben Kallos, the Roosevelt Island Development Corporation (RIOC) and the city.

During the ceremony, Kallos said the push to renovate Blackwell House began during the tenure of his predecessor, Jessica Lappin — who was also in attendance Wednesday — but was delayed more than 13 years due to battles with city agencies over funding.

"To be clear, projects like this should not be celebrating their Bar Mitzvah at their ribbon cutting," Kallos said.

It includes the installation of new stairs, ceilings, doors, trimmings, HVAC systems and an ADA-compliant access ramp, according to Acting RIOC President Shelton Haynes.

Officials hope the renovation will contribute to the revitalization of Roosevelt Island's urban core.

"I believe that Blackwell House will further spur the curiosity of people, tourists, you name it, to explore not only this site but the long historical significance of Roosevelt Island," said State Sen. José M. Serrano.

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