Wednesday, January 11, 2006

01/10/06, The New York Daily News: "Bottom of the 9th for Stadium"

Bottom of 9th for Stadium


The City Planning Commission will play umpire at a public hearing tomorrow as plans for the new Yankee Stadium head into the final innings.
The controversial proposal to build an $800 million stadium and retail complex on city parkland directly north of the House that Ruth Built was voted down by local Community Board 4 but approved by Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión with a raft of conditions and pet projects attached.

"This is a real environmental justice issue," said Lukas Herbert, a Board 4 member and an urban planner. "I'm taking the day off work to go down there."

Neither the community board vote nor Carrión's wish list are binding, but the planning commission vote will be when it takes up the issue in late February.

The CPC hearings come after a raucous hearing held by Carrión last month, with the rotunda at the Bronx County Building packed with construction workers chanting, "We want jobs!" and Yankees President Randy Levine denouncing opponents of the new ballpark as "professional protesters."

Many area residents said they couldn't get into Carrión's hearing because the construction workers - most bused in from outside the area - took all the seats.

Several vocal stadium opponents complained they were deliberately passed over during the time allowed for testimony.

The city Parks Department has committed $110 million for new parks in the area, but residents complain the replacement parkland - on smaller, scattered sites or built on top of parking garages - is not a genuine replacement for the 22 acres of greenspace the community is giving up.

To appease opponents, Carrión wants interim parks completed before work begins on the new stadium.

His proposed revision calls for a new ballfield and running track on Yankee Parking Lot 1 before Macombs Dam Park and Mullaly Park are dug up.

The planning commission's hearings will start at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Rector Hall, at 22 Reade St., but the stadium project will not come up until about 11:30 a.m.

Those wishing to testify should sign up at the speaker desk in the lobby before the hearing, said CPC spokeswoman Rachaele Raynoff.

She stressed that everyone who wants to will be given a chance to speak.

"There will be no 'selection' [of speakers]," Raynoff said. "We will be there as long as it takes."

Originally published on January 10, 2006


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