Wednesday, January 18, 2006

“Stadium plans are a bad call for South Bx. nabe” OpEd in NY Daily News

There following is reprinted from the “Be Our Guest” OpEd column in the NY Daily News on January 18, 2006 by Lukas Herbert and Geoff Croft:



Last week we joined many South Bronx residents at a City Planning Commission hearing on the proposed new Yankee Stadium project. We had good reason to be down there, and good reason to worry.

Yankee Stadium happens to be located in the poorest congressional district in America. That is why it is unconscionable that our elected officials are allowing 22.42 acres of city parkland to be seized for a new 54,000-seat stadium that will be built north of the current stadium.

In June, the Legislature quietly alienated the historic city parkland. According to the latest proposal, the Yankees would be able to use portions of Macombs Dam and John Mullaly parks for the new stadium and three parking garages. The city is proposing to spend $130 million to replace park features, but scatters the new facilities up to a mile away. Needless to say, the community is vehemently opposed, particularly when we hear these moves are made necessary by the Yankee decision to continue to use the existing stadium during construction.

We say build a new Yankee Stadium, but not at the expense of our precious parks and the community. The parkland that is affected totals 22.42 acres. The land includes more than 18 acres, which is nearly all, if not all, of Macombs Dam Park around Yankee Stadium. The site now features a softball field, three Little League baseball fields, two basketball courts and 24 handball courts. The affected land also includes nearly 4 acres of John Mullaly Park, immediately north of Macombs Dam Park. Granted, the city plans to replace displaced park features such as the running track in Macombs Dam Park, but the replacement schemes, in effect, gut the heart of this community.

For instance, 10.22 acres of parkland would be located on the roofs of the new parking structures. The old Yankee Stadium would be torn down and replaced with three baseball/softball fields, but they would not be available for five years, according to the Yankee Stadium project draft environmental impact statement. Additional parkland would be created nearly a mile’s walk away. The current proposal shows this remote 5.11-acre parcel wedged between the Major Deegan elevated expressway and a freight rail lane.

Accommodating the country’s most successful sports team should not trump vital needs of a community, especially when there are practical alternatives such as renovating or rebuilding at their current location or on adjacent land south and west.

Unfortunately, the people of the Bronx have long realized that dollars and cents to the Yankees mean neighborhood destruction for us. That is why Bronx residents have banded together to fight for an alternative plan (saveourparks.blogspot.com). We are united in saying no to development that harms our community.

Yankees, Yes. Destruction of parkland, No.

Herbert, a certified urban planner, is a member of Community Board 4, which includes Macombs Dam Park and Yankee Stadium. Croft is president of NYC Park Advocates.

2 Comments:

At 5:33 PM, Anonymous MR.ICLE said...

Hello Geoffrey C -
Thanks for all U do. When putting up a referenced article, how about including a link to the online article, if available?

 
At 7:02 PM, Blogger Save Our Parks! said...

We always do. Unfortunately, The Daily News does not post electronic versions of these opEDs.

 

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