Tuesday, January 24, 2006

1/24/6: Ny1: "Bronx residents spar over removal of parkland at new Yankee Stadium site"

Bronx Residents Spar Over Removal Of Parkland At New Yankee Stadium Site

January 24, 2006

The scheduled groundbreaking for a new Yankee stadium is this spring, and as NY1's Dean Meminger explains in the following report, the controversy over the removal of parkland to make way for it is hotter than a seat in the bleachers on a July afternoon.

“This parkland should be free to everybody. [The Yankees] are in New York; they just renovated the stadium," says one New Yorker.

It's a battlefield over the Yankee Stadium field. The Yankees are on track to move from their current home on the south side of 161st Street to the north side, putting a new $800 million stadium in the middle of Macombs Dam and Mulally parks.

“I think it is a waste of money. I think it is,” says a Bronx resident. “Because the people who are coming over here, what’s the difference? Go one more block or a half of block.”

The Yanks say a new stadium and redeveloping the neighborhood will bring jobs to the area. The Parks Department promises to replace the track, softball fields, tennis courts and other facilities that will be uprooted.

Some of the new parkland will go on top of an underground parking garage. And when the current stadium is torn down, softball fields will be put in.

“These parks will be replaced. They’re going to go into construction this year, 2006,” says Parks Department Planning Chief Joshua Laird. “We are funded for it. It is an absolute requirement of the project. The new stadium cannot happen unless the new parks are built as well."

"I want my park, I want my track, I want my things that are here,” says a Bronx resident. “[Even if the city says it will replace those parks], I don't believe them."

And members of NYC Park Advocates and Save Our Parks have the same opinion.

“I don't believe the government should go around enhancing a private corporate entity, especially a corporate entity that’s not only a profit-making entity, but an entity that has all the commercial land it needs south of 161st Street," says Michael Levy Trotter of Save Our Parks.

"The Parks Department does not maintain our parks, and now they want to spend all of this money to replace these parks," said Joyce Hogi, also of Save Our Parks.

Over at the stadium racquet club, players and workers feel like they are in a volley.

“I don't know how long it’s going to take to build, and we tennis players, where will we go?” says one club member. “Where will we go. Will we be off for a year or two?"

“If they build something before they take this stadium down, then it wouldn't be as bad because we would go immediately to the other place and we wouldn't lose our jobs,” says an employee.

And what about all of the jobs promised for the community by having a new stadium?

“If they are going to better this area by building more opportunities for people to have jobs and leave a park in it for people to enjoy, then they have my total support," says one New Yorker.

“I don't see any benefit for anyone in the community,” says another. “Who is going to get the jobs? It is going to be an outsider. It’s not going to people from the community."

Park advocates say they want to make it absolutely clear that they support the Yankees, and that the team should have a new stadium, but they say they can never support that stadium being where the current track is.

- Dean Meminger


At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Sofia Negron said...

Hello. My name is Sofia A. Negron and I am a Bronxite. I must admit that I am not usually very proactive on what goes on in my community, but this recent attack on my community has inspired me to get involved. I am very disappointed in this proposal and in all who insist on financially and morally supporting it. It is clear that whoever is behind this idea DOES NOT currently reside or intend to reside in this community and that alone is enough for me to oppose this idea.
This expansion of the Yankee Stadium that requires the destruction of our beloved parks, is most likely seen as an esteem or confidence in the borough booster by those involved; however, it is in fact, the exact opposite. By taking away a huge portion of the few recreational parks we have available in the Bronx, it is only creating an unavoidable anomocity to those residents who now take pride in living by the stadium that hosts and is home to our beloved Yankees players; therefore, resulting in rebels who will refuse to purchase tickets in an effort to prove the downfall of this expansion. Morevoer, resulting in a less as expected revenue boost, which is the main concern of all parties' involved, MONEY.
While this decrease in numbers may seem irrelevant due to the increase of tourists who will be likely to make up for lost revenue, take into consideration the decrease in tourists likely to come due to the increase of crime in the area. Unfortunately, while this may seem as a minor discrepancy for those who will vote for more security and more police officers to patrol the area, it will in fact pose a major problem for all. This is an unavoidable effect of this cause, and being a Bronxite, I find it to be very scary.
These parks serve as a scapegoat for troubled teens and adults alike who live in neighborhoods where they are not safe; negatively influenced by their peers; or just do not have any recreational activities close to them. These parks also serve as one of the few means of athletic expression for those aspring basketball players, football players, skateboarders, etc., as well as a fun place for all others who go to simply watch. It is truly unfair to those proud individuals who truly utlize these parks. Meanwhile, the tourists coming to see the games, mostly come from places where recreational activites are in abundance in their environment.
For those who supposedly researched the ways in which to make it possible, it is clear that they did not research other venues that would have far less immediate consequences. Moreover, for those who intend to financially support this idea, it is plainly clear that they did not research the Bronx history, current demographic statistics, or investments that would BETTER the community and its people. We Bronxites live in one of the poorest boroughs of New York and are a proud, hard working struggling bunch of people, for the most part.
It is so sad how easily we are overlooked on all important aspects of producing a better borough, yet so quickly incorporated into the revenue producing aspect that will not even benefit our community.


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