"Yanks support shaky?" MetroNY 03/31/06
Yanks support shaky?
Bronx delegation split, says community’s Council member
by patrick arden / metro new york
MAR 31, 2006
SOUTH BRONX — With days before the City Council vote on the proposed new Yankee Stadium, Councilwoman Helen Foster claimed the outcome remains uncertain.
“Many Council members have concerns, many more than the media realizes,” said Foster, who represents the Highbridge neighborhood and opposes the project. “The Bronx delegation isn’t completely on board yet. I don’t see how between now and Wednesday the issues that we have can be resolved.”
Her issues include the quality of replacement parkland, the four new garages and the expected increase in traffic, as well as the community benefits agreement, “or lack thereof,” still being negotiated between Bronx lawmakers and the Yankees.
“We’re not close to an acceptable proposal that would benefit the community,” Foster said. “I can very well see the Yankees having a new stadium, and the community still waiting down the line for these replacement parks.”
She floated the idea of building the ballpark south of the stadium, recalling a proposal by former mayor David Dinkins. Unfortunately, she said, part of that parcel now belongs to the planned Gateway Mall project at the Bronx Terminal Market.
“The administration pushed these two plans as being separate and apart from each other purely for money reasons,” she said. “Put the stadium on the waterfront — I don’t care where you put it. It doesn’t belong in the park closer to residential homes. There’s no other area in the city where someone could propose something like this and get away with it.
“A lot of Council members are looking to make a stand,” Foster said. “What happens with this vote on Wednesday is going to set the tone for development across the city. This is the time for us as a Council to decide what it is we’re going to stand for in terms of growth in this city.”
Hours before the full council votes on Wednesday, the project will be considered by a land-use subcommittee. Its chairman, Dan Garodnick, D-Manhattan, asked Yankees’ president Randy Levine this week about alternatives to taking away parkland.
“His reasons were that the footprint of the current stadium was too small and that the Yankees did not want to bear the expense and inconvenience of playing in Queens,” he said. “But in response to my questions, it became clear that this is really a matter of money. I still have some concerns.”
Taking it to court
BRONX — Joyce Hogi, a 62-year-old widow who lives three blocks away from Macombs Dam Park, is a member of Save Our Parks. The group held a fund-raiser on the Grand Concourse last week and used the proceeds to hire a lawyer.
“A few hundred people showed up, but we got donations from so many others,” she said. “We’re hoping for a political solution, but if it doesn’t happen we’re prepared to go to court.”
“If this gets dragged through the courts, it could be years,” said Baruch College professor Neil Sullivan. “Construction costs will keep going up, and it will become too expensive to build. That’s what killed the Westway.”