Monday, November 21, 2005

Highbridge Horizon reports on last week's town hall meeting

As follows, or click the title above.

Hundreds turn out to discuss stadium plan

By Joe Lamport
Managing Editor

A town hall meeting Nov. 17 grew heated as hundreds of community residents turned out to discuss the proposal to build a new stadium for the New York Yankees.

"As it is now configured, residents do not want this project," said Gregory Bell, a resident and member of Bronx Voices for Equal Inclusion, an advocacy group. "The question is what does it take for us to stop you?"

Emotions ran high at the meeting, which included presentations by a panel including officials from the Yankees and the City Parks Department. Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., hosted the meeting and had to step in several times to quiet the sometimes raucous crowd filling the gymnasium of the School for Law, Government and Justice.

Yankees President Randy Levine was interrupted frequently as he explained that the Yankees could only build a new stadium on parkland to the north of the current stadium. Other options were too expensive, he said.

Laird's presentation included a new idea to change the design of parkland. He also was frequently interrupted.

After the presentations, residents posed questions and directed comments to the panel.

"Shame on you, Mr. Borough President," said Kitty Cotter, a resident. “Don’t pretend that you are surprised at the opposition. A lot of big money is going into this project and that has distracted you from protecting your own community."

His voice wavering, Carrion responded with emotion.

"We're not going to allow anyone to parachute into our community and take the money,” he said. “We will do what we need to do to build a better borough. And anyone who question's my integrity-"

His comment was cut off by shouts from the audience.

After the meeting, Levine said the strong feelings that residents expressed "were part of the process." But some in the audience were "professional protesters," he said.

“We have a process that’s moving forward,” he said. “I saw a lot of people in the room who supported the project.”

Residents objected.

“That’s absolutely untrue,” said Joan Pemberton of Jerome Avenue. "Everybody in this room - we were all here because we do not support it. He didn’t expect this kind of opposition.”

"Are you kidding?" said Geneva Causey, a resident. "Everybody here is from the community. These are community people, hardcore."

Community Board 4 will vote on the proposal Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse at 165th Street. The board's land use committee unanimously rejected the plan Nov. 7.


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