NY1 Exclusive: Bronx Officials Call For Stadium Deal's Replacement Parks
Some elected Bronx officials and park advocates continued to make the case Tuesday that the new Yankee Stadium deal has not yet given the community adequate park land. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed the following exclusive report.
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From the outside, the new Yankee Stadium in Highbridge, Bronx appears be almost finished, but not everyone in the Bronx is pleased with the project.
"Every day I have to drive by and see that fiasco called the new Yankee Stadium," said Democratic Bronx Councilwoman Helen Foster in a Tuesday city council meeting.
The new stadium took over what used to be Macombs Dam Park, causing a running track, tennis courts and several athletic fields to be destroyed.
Foster said more should be done to speed up the construction of replacement parks, while the Parks Department said its efforts are adequate.
"The park program alone is budgeted at $174 million, allowing us to plan and build great new parks that will surround and serve the community for generations to come," said Parks Deputy Commissioner Lian Kavanagh.
A temporary park opened a year ago where a stadium parking lot used to be. City officials have promised that when the old stadium is torn down, they will put public baseball fields on the site. A state-of-the-art track and field will go on top of a Yankee parking garage.
There will also be a waterfront park at the old Bronx Terminal Market site just a few blocks away from the stadium, which is scheduled to open in a year. However, there have been environmental problems at the site.
"The waterfront park site had ten underground oil tanks rather than four showing on the survey, resulting in higher mitigation cost,” said Kavanagh. “The seawall and sub surface required significant infrastructure to support the park program."
Foster, who represents Highbridge and is also the chairperson of the council's Parks and Recreation Committee, said the waterfront park is not easily accessible.
“It is not enough as elected officials that we approve a project and walk way from it,” said Foster. “We’ve got to keep monitoring it to make sure promises, especially promises held out to the community members, are met."
Some park advocates say the Yankees should give money to help complete the parks around their new stadium.
"The Parks Department needs more money to get it done quicker, let's get it from [the Yankees],” said Christian DiPalermo of New Yorkers For Parks. “They have made tons of money off of this deal."
The city says the parks’ reconstruction money is in the budget and promises they will be built.
The new stadium is scheduled to open in 2009.
- Dean Meminger