Friday, January 30, 2009

"Yankee Stadium rec area cost out of the park" Crains 1/27/9

Yankee Stadium rec area cost out of the park

By Daniel Massey

Published: January 27, 2009 - 2:29 pm

The cost of replacing more than 22 acres of South Bronx parkland displaced by the new Yankee Stadium has skyrocketed 67% to nearly $195 million, according to a new report by the Independent Budget Office.

Design revisions, project additions, unanticipated cleanup of hazardous materials and construction inflation have driven costs up by $78.6 million, the report said. While the Yankees are financing the stadium — with the help of city and state subsidies — the parks are being paid for by the city.

“The city pledged to provide new recreational facilities of equal or greater fair market value to those displaced,” the report said. “Since the plans were announced, the costs of these projects have risen significantly.”

Funding for the increase has been built into the city’s capital budget, according Doug Turetsky, chief of staff of the IBO, a city agency that operates independent of the mayor. A spokesman for the mayor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the original 2005 estimate, the cost of the replacement parks was projected to be $116.1 million. But design revisions and the addition of new projects have added $30 million to the cost. Unanticipated hazardous waste cleanup and environmental remediation cost an extra $7.6 million, and additional site work and safety increased costs by $10.9 million. A greater-than-expected rise in construction costs accounted for $7.6 million of the increase, while construction delays added $6.2 million.

The factors driving the remaining $16.3 million cost increase are not yet clear because portions of the project are still out for bid, the report said.

Eight smaller parks will replace Macombs Dam Park and a portion of John Mullaly Park, which were demolished to make way for the new stadium and parking garages. The facilities will cover 32 acres and include a 400-meter track with a soccer field and stands, five ball fields, 16 tennis courts, four basketball courts, eight handball courts, a skateboard park, an ice rink and a recreational center.

The parks were initially expected to be completed by December 2010, but construction delays at almost every facility means they will not likely open before the fall of 2011. In a period of rising construction costs, delays typically increase project expenses. The recession could bring costs down, but the IBO’s analysis was based on current market conditions.

The increases and delays came as no surprise to community members who believed all along that the city’s original plan was not feasible. They vigorously opposed the stadium, in large part because of its impact on neighborhood parkland.

Joyce Hogi, a member of Community Board 4’s parks committee and a longtime area resident, said community members told the city it was underestimating the amount of environmental remediation that needed to be done, but that its warnings went nowhere. “We knew the costs of the parks were going to escalate,” she said. “During our protests, we said ‘there are tanks under the soil, there’s remediation that needs to be done.’”

Even if there are no further delays, Ms. Hogi believes irrevocable damage has already been done. “The kids that played in these parks will be adults and parents by the time we get the replacements,” she said.

1 Comments:

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous S Meyer said...

Our organization, Defense of Place, would like to learn more about your battle against Yankee Stadium as a cautionary tale for other park activists. Please contact me at smeyer@defenseofplace.org or visit our website at www.defenseofplace.org.
Defense of Place is dedicated to ensuring the perpetual protection of parklands, open space and wildlife refuges.

 

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