Thursday, April 06, 2006

"Council Votes Yes On New Yankee Stadium" on NY1, 4/5/6

Council Votes Yes On New Yankee Stadium

April 05, 2006

The full City Council voted Wednesday to approve plans for a new Yankee Stadium to be constructed in a park across from the team's current home in the Bronx.

The plan still has more legislative hurdles. It needs approval from the City Council Finance Committee for money to build the infrastructure needed, and the federal government still has to give permission to the Yankees to build on parkland.

Opponents are also vowing to stop the project by going to court.

Despite the opposition, city lawmakers said they are in favor of the plan.

"This has been made a much better project, a project that will certainly bring jobs to the borough,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

The speaker, who just last year fought vigorously to defeat a stadium on Manhattan's West Side, said this plan would help revitalize the South Bronx.

Under the proposal, the city and the state have agreed to spend close to $300 million to improve infrastructure, repair and build new parks and build a Metro-North station near the new stadium.

The Yankees plan to spend $800 million of their own money to build a new home adjacent to their current one and pump tens of millions of dollars into the Bronx over the next 40 years.

“This means jobs for people in the Bronx, this means opportunities for Bronx businesses. We’re committed to it, [and] we’re going to deliver on it,” said Yankees President Randy Levine.

Groups have been rallying outside City Hall, both for and against the stadium, with emotions running high on both sides.

Opponents say they'll ask the National Park Service to intervene to protect the park from construction.

Opponents say they don't trust the Yankees, adding they're concerned that parkland will used to build a stadium, and that traffic in the neighborhood will get even worse.

“While we’re talking about the Yankee organization and what good neighbors they’re going to be, they could have done it a long time ago, and they didn’t,” said Bronx City Councilwoman Helen Foster. “So forgive me if I don’t have the enthusiasm of my colleagues, and I don’t trust them to do what they could have been doing all along.”

Foster lives just blocks from the stadium, and was the only member of the Bronx delegation to vote against the stadium.

"The mayor, governor, the Bronx delegation and Christine Quinn should be ashamed of themselves for selling out our community," said a Bronx resident opposed to the plan. "The fight is only just beginning. We want our parks back."

"A lot of jobs would come into the community. A lot of people are going to have jobs, and we're going to help the community, build new parks; It's going to be beautiful. So I think they should build it," countered a worker in favor.

While opposition to plans for the new Yankee Stadium remains, the Bronx Bombers have reportedly worked out a community agreement. Sources tell NY1 the Yankees, the Bronx borough president and Bronx City Council members have signed off on the deal.

Under the proposal, 25 percent of the jobs created for building the stadium would go to Bronx residents. Sources say the Yankees have also pledged to bring on minority and women-owned businesses, along with an offer of $1.5 million for community outreach.

The team is also expected to donate $1 million a year for 40 years to Bronx community groups, which would include $15,000 worth of baseball tickets a year.

Meanwhile, the governor and mayor say they're behind a Yankee Stadium Metro-North station, but they will need help to push it through.

The proposed station would serve passengers on the Harlem, New Haven and Hudson lines. The MTA board has been asked to present a plan at its meeting later this month.

Some estimates show the stop could cost at least $30 million dollars.

Any Metro-North plan must be approved by the State Capital Program Review Board.

The Yankees hope to be in their new stadium for the start of the 2009 season.

Meanwhile, the Mets are ready to show fans their plans for a new stadium. The team, along with city and state officials, will unveil the design for its new ballpark Thursday morning.

It will be built in the parking lot just beyond the left field wall of the Mets’ current home at Shea Stadium in Queens. Mets officials say the new stadium will have an Ebbetts Field look to it, referring to the old stadium that was once home to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The Mets hope to have construction completed in time for the 2009 season.


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