Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"City has money for park cleanup, but not sure how much" MetroNY 09/12/06

City has money for park cleanup, but not sure how much

by patrick arden / metro new york

SEP 12, 2006

BRONX — Critics of the new Yankee Stadium have long complained that the project resembled a shell game.

The $160 million promised for replacement parks, for instance, will cover the demolition of the current stadium, the building of site infrastructure, including new sewers and water mains, and the planting of 8,000 saplings in various locations. Now it’s known that kitty will have to pay for the cleanup of the polluted replacement parkland too. How much that will ultimately cost taxpayers remains unknown.

“We always knew that there was going to be some remediation cost,” said Parks Dept. planner Joshua Laird last week. “We established a healthy contingency budget to deal with unknowns, and the remediation costs will be coming out of that budget.”

How much?

“We still don’t have a number, because the site is still being investigated,” he said. “It’s partly what’s on the site, and partly how we design the site that dictates how much it’s going to cost us to clean it. If we’re going to areas that are going to be covered with paving, they don’t need to be remediated to the same level as a site that will be used as a lawn kids may be playing on.”

Will the cleanup affect the schedule to replace the parks, beginning in 2010?

“We don’t know yet,” Laird said. “Until we have permits or are further down the pike with [the state’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation] in terms of what they’re going to require, we don’t know how we’re going to fix it. But for the moment, we’ve not changed our delivery date.”

Some critics are troubled by this uncertainty. The cost of the 1970s stadium renovation was put at $24 million, but the tab came in above $100 million. What about this plan?

Dan Steinberg of Good Jobs New York has projected taxpayer subsidies for the stadium will exceed $400 million.

“Considering this project was rushed through on the Yankees’ terms, it’s not surprising the city doesn’t have all the information yet,” he said. “There could be significant cost overruns.”


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