Monday, November 21, 2005

Editorial in Highbridge Horizon

The following is from the November, 2005 issue of the Highbridge Horizon. Read it here, or click on the title and read it there.

Editorial: Once in a Lifetime

Highbridge stands at a critical crossroads in its history. More than ever, residents have to stand up to make their voices heard on the two immense development projects proposed: The plan to build a new Yankee Stadium and the plan to redevelop the Bronx Terminal Market.

Both of these projects will have huge impacts on Highbridge, the likes of which will not be completely appreciated for years to come. They are once in a lifetime proposals. Unfortunately, those impacts are mostly negative. In the words of one Community Board 4 member, a "grave injustice" is about to be perpetrated on the community if the plans for the new Yankee Stadium actually become reality.

What is being proposed is troubling enough: among many other bad things, the new stadium would bring even more traffic into "asthma alley" and destroy valuable parkland. With the state set to invest billions in mass transit and with the problems in the world today with oil, why is anyone proposing creating incentives for more vehicle traffic into New York City?

Equally absurd is part of the replacement being proposed for the loss of Macombs Dam Park and Mullaly Park: Astroturf on top of parking garages. What kind of parkland is that?

How it is being proposed is even worse, perhaps. The city has said that it has worked closely with community groups on the plan. Who exactly has it been working with? If a group of advocates can collect thousands of signatures against the stadium project in little more than a month it's obvious that whoever the city worked with was hardly in touch with local sentiment. Last weekend city officials did little to help matters by holding a tour and discussion of the projects, apparently in violation of the open meetings law. Why were board members discussing this project privately? Doing so only raises suspicions.

Ironically, almost at the same time that board members were meeting privately to discuss whether to destroy two parks, less than a mile away health experts were talking about how desperately the South Bronx needs to save and build more green space to fight the asthma that is destroying the lives of thousands of children in the area. Can the Yankees and their friends in city government see anything but the other green?

Highbridge residents are not so easily duped. Destroying parks, worsening the health of children, meeting illegally -- these kinds of things are not going unnoticed. Residents should not miss the board's public hearing on the stadium set for Nov. 22, 6 pm at Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, lest the corporate forces destroy more than the parks.


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