Thursday, November 03, 2005

DEIS: Parkland concerns; Heritage Field


Draft EIS states:

The site of the existing Yankee Stadium would be a major feature of the recreation plan, providing Heritage Field on the site of the existing Yankee Stadium playing field.

The proposed project would retain the playing field, dugouts, and locker rooms under the field seats of the existing stadium and adapt it to a public baseball field called “Heritage Field.” (no more than 3,000 seats) Also on the site of the existing Yankee Stadium would be areas of landscaped, passive recreational open space. In total, this area would comprise 8.9 acres of new parkland.

East of Ruppert Place, the majority of the existing Yankee Stadium structure would be demolished. The existing Yankee Stadium baseball field would be retained as a publicly accessible baseball field, with the dugouts and some portions of the west grandstands also to be retained.


According to the DEIS, it is not clear how Heritage Field will be operated. Since part of the old stadium would remain (and hence a wall), would the field be locked during certain times? How much access would the public get? Beyond the perceived historical value (although the DEIS notes that it is not a historical structure) what would be the benefit of keeping a partially demolished stadium that may or may not be locked as opposed to simply creating an open park facility?

The proposed Heritage Field also might have relatively high maintenance costs compared to other parks facilities. Keeping a turf baseball field in tact requires a lot of time and money. How would this be maintained? How would dugouts and locker rooms be cleaned and maintained and kept secure? Who would have access to them? If nobody gets access to them, how would this be an even exchange of parkland since people can use all aspects of the parks now? The existing field is below the grade level of the surrounding streets. How will flooding be prevented?

Landscaped areas and buffers surrounding the old stadium will not be able to be used for anything practical. These should not be considered as areas for “passive recreation”.


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