"City choosing to forget" Metro 6/25/8
City choosing to forget
Selective memory on display in uproar over delayed Yankees’ parkland
by patrick arden / metro new york
JUN 25, 2008
When did the Bloomberg administration know that it was replacing parks lost to the new Yankee Stadium with polluted land?
That was the question City Councilwoman Helen Foster asked yesterday at a hearing on the project’s delays.
Costs to the city have doubled in the last two years, with the replacement parks’ bill climbing 84 percent to around $190 million. Yesterday, officials attributed part of the sticker shock to “unanticipated” cleanup.
“I can assure you that there was no attempt to underplay the cost,” said Liam Kavanagh of the Parks Department. But the city knew its replacement park parcels were contaminated — it’s even mentioned in the project’s initial environmental review. In 2006, Metro detailed the massive amount of pollution the city had found at the site.
The review acknowledged toxins exceeding state standards “were detected in soil samples from throughout the project area.”
Oil contamination was identified in dirt and groundwater.
National Park Service executive Jack Howard noted soil near the Harlem River had “petroleum-like odors.” With reason: The lot had hosted a Valvoline Oil facility and a power plant.