Thursday, January 12, 2006

01/12/06, New York Daily News: ¨Stadium foes cry foul ball¨

Stadium foes cry foul ball

They threw us curveball, foes charge


Bronx Boro Prez Adolfo Carrión speaks.

A public hearing on the new Yankee Stadium plan went into extra innings yesterday, as 85 speakers lined up to sound off and gave testimony until late in the evening.
Construction workers and local residents traded dueling chants of "Build it now!" and "Not on the park!" outside the City Planning Commission hearing on the plan to build a new Yankee Stadium complex on top of two city parks across the street from the historic ballpark.

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion opened the hearing with a call for Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg to get more involved in what he called "a project of legacy proportions."

To reap the project's full potential, Carrion said, it should include the laundry list of pet projects from his own vision for the area. He called for a new high school for sports careers, a hotel, a convention center and a Metro-North station, among other things.

Later, speakers opposing the stadium plan lauded the borough president's ideas, but pointed out that none of them are actually included in the current Yankee Stadium proposal.

Joshua Laird, director of planning for the city Parks Department, the lead agency on the project, took to the podium to reassure locals that the city will replace all 400 mature trees lost to construction with thousands of young ones to ensure no loss of greenery. He also said the department supports Carrion's idea of interim parks for the community to use until replacement facilities are finished.

Yankees President Randy Levine touted the proposed $800million project as "the largest private investment in the history of sports and in the history of the Bronx."

But opponents such as Michael Levy Trotter of the community group Nos Quedamos, painted the plan as a "backroom, giveaway, sweetheart boondoggle" because the use of park land was arranged in Albany last year before the community was told.

"I'm a member of Community Board 4, and they never told us anything about it," said Pasquale Canale. "We found out about it in the newspaper."

Many, including Greg Bell of Bronx Voices for Equal Inclusion, said they felt sold out and abandoned by elected officials.

"The common denominator is that we recognize that our parks have been taken, and no one asked us," he told the commission. "A project is about to impact our community, and we were not informed. Individuals we have trusted to represent us have disrespected us."

Tony Costa, 44, who can hear game-day crowds cheering from his home five blocks way, couldn't believe the city plans to tear down the House that Ruth Built.

"Who would want to destroy such an icon of sports Americana?" he said. "How can we take a public good away from the poorest congressional district in America and then give it to the richest sports franchise in the country?"

Originally published on January 12, 2006


At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

cut down 400 trees this is insane, what kind of jerks run our parks dept ? it takes 25 years for them to grow back. benepe & laird should be fired.


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