"Stadium garage plan gets OK; Carrion drops opposition" Daily News 10/16/7
Stadium garage plan gets OK; Carrion drops opposition
BY BILL EGBERT DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Tuesday, October 16th 2007, 4:00 AM
A controversial plan to subsidize the new Yankee Stadium's parking garages has cleared its final hurdle, despite concerns over financing and traffic congestion.
The city's development agency voted for the plan last week after Bronx elected officials gave their approval.
The last obstacle was removed Oct. 5 when Borough President Adolfo Carrión dropped his opposition, and the Borough Board voted to endorse it.
Carrión had blocked the last attempt by the city's Industrial Development Agency to approve a $225 million tax-free bond issue to fund construction of the garages because, he said, the agency was withholding crucial documentation on the project.
But with what Carrión called "a thorough and informative presentation" by the city Economic Development Corp., which oversees the IDA, he endorsed the financing plan as "yet another important step toward realizing the goal of investment and community participation in the redevelopment of this area."
Councilwoman Helen Foster, however, whose Highbridge district covers the stadium area, voted against the plan.
"All along I've been opposed to the stadium and the traffic and congestion it would bring to the neighborhood," Foster said. "And this [garage] project will just encourage even more people to drive to the west Bronx."
Many of Foster's constituents worry the 9,000 parking spaces around the stadium will turn their already traffic- and asthma-choked neighborhood into a de facto park-and-ride hub - especially if the mayor's Manhattan congestion pricing plan becomes reality.
The new stadium project has faced strong local opposition from the surrounding neighborhood, in part because the city took away two large, popular local parks and gave them to the wealthiest franchise in sports.
"When are we going to put the needs of the community above the needs of an organization?" Foster asked.
The city controller's office, which also had expressed concerns about EDC's refusal to turn over documentation, endorsed the $225 million tax-free bond issue as well.
"We requested and received summaries of the lease agreement, the construction contract and the financing agreement," said controller's spokeswoman Laura Rivera. "And were told that the final versions would not differ substantively from what was shown to us."