Thursday, February 23, 2006

"Yanks pitch change-ups" in Metro Feb 23

Yanks pitch change-ups
Planning Commission approves stadium project while Bronxites mull plan’s ‘fuzzy math’

by patrick arden / metro new york

FEB 23, 2006

BRONX — The plan to build a new Yankee Stadium cleared another hurdle yesterday, as the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the project. Now the proposal will head to the City Council, which will decide the fate of the stadium in the next two months.

The project appears to be on a fast track, with the Yankees scheduled to break ground this spring. But last night a group of residents remained determined to derail the ballpark.

Members of Save Our Parks initially objected to the new stadium and parking garages claiming 22 acres of parkland. These days they have another beef with the political machinations that have edged them out of the discussion.

In an apartment on the Grand Concourse, they combed through the project’s 730-page Final Environmental Impact Statement, which was completed this month. They were still trying to figure out what is exactly at stake.

Numbers game

“They keep tweaking the numbers, hoping no one will notice,” complained Joyce Hogi, who lives near Mullaly Park and the current stadium. “We’re disappointed that the planners would so blatantly ignore the effect this project will have on the community, but we’re not discouraged. It’s like they’re playing games with this fuzzy math.”

The original pitch had the city replacing the lost parkland with 28 acres of new park facilities — a gain of six acres — but the latest plan calls for just 24 acres of parks, and some of that will be on top of underground parking garages built on existing parkland. In response to community protests, the replacement parkland has been shifted to carve out a central space.

“That was supposed to make us happy,” noted Lukas Herbert, a member of Community Board 4, which voted against the stadium. “But the new improved plan actually has less parkland.”

Three weeks ago Yankees president Randy Levine lauded the city’s “$130 million investment” in the parks. The city, however, is slated to spend just $103 million on parks and $27 million to tear down the old ballpark. According to the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the city will get back only $96 million in tax revenue over the next 30 years.

Yesterday Levine said, “This project will create thousands of jobs, new and improved parkland and benefits and opportinities for residents.”

Moving target

When it was unveiled, the new stadium was praised as a private project with limited government aid. The Yankees would build their own $800 million ballpark, while the city and the state ponied up $200 million for related costs.

A watchdog group factored in costs such as tax breaks and put taxpayers’ final expense at $480 million, a figure the Yankees dispute.

But even the $800 million the team is dedicating to the project will be financed with $930 million in city bonds, both taxable and non-taxable. The extra $130 million will cover the team’s cost of borrowing the money.

“People always assumed the Yankees were putting up this money, but they have to float bonds,” said Herbert. “George Steinbrenner is not writing a check — he’s paying us back.”


At 10:56 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I'm well aware that 930 million in city bonds will be floated to build a palace for Boss George. However, the majority of the public is not aware of this and believe Steinbrenner will be using his own money. My personal opinion....An aging George Steinbrenner is looking to have a new Yankee Stadium built by 2009....He will keep the team for a few more years after the opening of the new ballpark...and sell leaving the new owners of The Yankees to pay the bulk of the borrowed money....and we all know the city will end up bailing out the new owners with secret negotiations underneath the table out of view from the publics eye...New Ballparks increase the value of franchises in todays market...A new Stadium for the Yankees will add 300-400 million on to the networth of the franchise and thats in todays dollar. YOU CAN"T FOOL ME GEORGE. Honestly, how many years does he have left? George wants to leave a legacy and his legacy is getting a new ballpark. Plain and simple. I won't be attending any games in a new ballpark. When and if the Yankees leave Yankee Stadium I will take of my jersey for the last time!


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