Is your park next?
The issue at stake here is far more critical than first meets the eye. The attack on Macomb's Dam/Mullaly Parks is an attack on ALL parks in New York City. After all, Mr. Steinbrenner is a private developer in this case. If he succeeds in taking away these parks from the community, an important legal precedent will be established, i.e. with the cooperation of elected officials, any park becomes an open lot for private development. It is certain that lawyers for Wal-Mart and other big-box corporations who desire to open their stores in the outer boroughs are observing this with great interest.
Once the legal precedent of "Community Parks are open lots for private development" is established, a big-box could desire St. Mary's Park, so near to the 149th St. commercial district, for its store. Up north, Devoe and St. James parks, near Fordham Road, would be equally tempting.
Sounds incredible? Last year at this time, no one would imagine that Macomb's Dam and Mullaly parks would be the targeted sites for a new stadium development! In this light, the question "Is your park next?" becomes a critical one for every community. This is not an issue only for the people of Highbridge or even of the Bronx. It is an issue for every Community Board, every Friends of Parks organization, every environmental group and every New Yorker who cares about a community park. And, yes for the City Council which must have an open, well publicized debate.
The people of Highbridge are making a courageous and determined stand on behalf of all of the parks in New York City. We ask fellow New Yorkers to stand with us. Remember that by preventing the destruction of Macombs Dam/Mullaly Parks today, you are keeping the bulldozers out of your community parks tomorrow.
--posted by John Rozankowski, of the Ravens, Friends of Poe Park. The Ravens is based in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, and stand in full support of Save Our Parks!