Sunday, March 05, 2006

"Public takes last swing at Yankee plan" Metro NY 03/03/06

Public takes last swing at Yankee plan

by patrick arden / metro new york

MAR 3, 2006

SOUTH BRONX — The Empire State Development Corporation held its final public hearing last night before deciding whether to invest $70 million in parking garages for the proposed new Yankee Stadium. The team wants to break ground this spring, but its stadium and garages would claim 22 acres of parkland, sparking protests from the neighborhood.

Trudging through the slush outside Hostos Community College, a group of 20 men in hardhats made their way to the meeting.

“We are the community,” said Alfonso “Lucky” Rivera, head of Positive Workforce, which aims to put minorities in the building trades.

Rivera was excited by Borough President Adolfo Carrion’s promise that 25 percent of the project’s 7,000 construction jobs would go to workers from the Bronx.

“The construction industry is racial,” Rivera said. “It’s easier to put pants on an elephant than it is to put a black or Hispanic to work in construction in New York City.

“People who don’t want this construction happening here, they want to see drug dealing on the corner rather than putting people to work. You go to the courthouse down the block there, and all you’ll see is blacks and Hispanics lined up. I don’t understand what these people want.”

Kitty Cotter can see McCombs Dam Park from her window. She’s lived there for 22 years. She says the park would be a major loss for a community with the city’s highest asthma rate.

“This plan should not be a referendum on the Yankees — it’s a great sports team,” she said. “It should not be a referendum on jobs — everyone is entitled to a job. Everybody in this neighborhood wants people to work. It should not be a referendum on economic development — everybody wants to see economic development in this neighborhood. It’s a poor neighborhood. The reason to be against this plan is that it’s bad for this community. The Yankees can provide jobs if the stadium is renovated. Let the Yankees build a new stadium — just not in our park.”

ESDC spokeswoman Jessica Copen said it will take two or three more months before the garage issue is resolved.

Parking numbers

• The ESDC would invest $70 million for the new parking garages, but it puts the final cost of constructing them at $247 million.

• The city is currently looking for a private developer to come up with that extra $177 million.


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