Wednesday, November 09, 2005

An open letter to Community Board 4

Dear Community Board 4 Member:

We are long-time resident voters of Community Board 4, and after having studied the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) of the Yankee Stadium project, we have discovered serious flaws in this document. We ask that you refuse to green-light this project and that the Yankees and the City go back to the drawing board to develop a plan that will not devastate our community.

We are not against development in our community. We are very excited about the restoration of the 153rd Street Bridge and of the Grand Concourse and of the redevelopment of 161st Street. These all present great economic development and benefits for the area. And if the Yankees could develop a plan that has a renovated or new stadium SOUTH of 161st Street, we would probably welcome that as well.

Residents from around the city, not just our community, use the sporting facilities at Macomb’s Dam and John Mullaly parks, including the Joseph Yancey Track and Field. Dozens of community schools use these parks for baseball, soccer and track and field meets. This plan sets a dangerous precedent by taking public parkland for use by a large private commercial enterprise.

Placing a modern megastadium in the middle of our community, along with the thousands of additional parking spaces which will bring hundreds of thousands of additional car trips to our community every week of home games throughout the season while at the same time requiring the closure of these new garage “parks” on game days for security reasons is outrageous.

Our elected officials have said the plan exchanges parkland for parkland. This is not true. The present stadium is zoned commercial. Public parkland should remain parkland. “Heritage Field”, as the old stadium will be called, although it will be zoned parkland, will be closed to residents and is not equitable or equally accessible, and neither will the parks that the proposal calls to be built on top of the new garages, at least on game days.

The DEIS is clear that the stadium will negatively impact the livability of the apartment buildings on Jerome Avenue: “residents living in these buildings would be subject to noise, bright lights, and large crowds during game nights. Living across the street from the stadium could make it less likely that someone would want to rent an apartment there." So why are we putting a megastadium in a stable residential community?

The plan calls for no addition to the public transit in the area; there is no Metro North station proposed. With the addition of so much parking, the environmental fallout for this project will negatively impact the already high asthma rates . Bronx residents on average live two years less than the average American due to pollution and particulates. The American Lung Association, in their State of the Air 2005 Report, states that for the 6th year in a row the Bronx gets a failing grade for air quality. And we want to add more parking and traffic?

Forcing the City and State to pay over $250 million for garages, replacement parks and other infrastructure is not an appropriate use of tax dollars. Meanwhile, the Yankees say they will pay for the cost of the new stadium, but recent history is full of examples of sports teams which begin the process saying they will pay for their stadiums and then coming up empty handed or short of funds. This plan has no assurances that it won’t happen here.

The Yankees and the City are proceeding with this plan as if the ULURP applications have already been approved. The antidemocratic methods employed by our elected officials in planning and voting on this proposal betrays the public trust and belies the statements by our leaders that there is “no community opposition.” It has been presented as a “done deal” to intimidate community opposition and discourage community input. We will hold the elected officials responsible for this outrageous denial of our 14th Amendment right of equal access and protection under the law, as we have been effectively excluded from the procedural process.

Please refuse to approve this plan when you vote on it on
November 22!


At 11:55 PM, Blogger * said...

Thank you, CB4, for listening to and HEARING you neighbors on this issue. You did the right thing, even though it wasn't necesarily the easy thing. For that, those of you who denied this proposal, you have earned our respect and admiration. Thank you.


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