While some groups have criticized the Yankees and the City of New York for deceiving the Bronx community on issues relating to the new Yankee Stadium and replacement park land, officials from the Parks Department are signing a different tune. In a City Council hearing yesterday, Liam Kavanaugh, the department’s first deputy commissioner, said that the replacement parks are behind schedule because the department was not prepared for the difficult nature of the work.
Timothy Williams reported the story for The Times:
A parks department official, called before the City Council to explain why an effort to replace recreation space lost to construction of the new Yankee Stadium has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, said on Tuesday that the department’s inexperience with such complex projects was partly to blame…
[Kavanaugh] said the agency had had trouble carrying out its plan to place some of the replacement parks in unusual locations, including one atop a stadium parking garage. “It is not something we are fully familiar with,” he said…
When Councilman Alan Gerson asked why the agency had not done a more thorough analysis of replacement park sites to determine what they contained before starting construction, Mr. Kavanagh said that in many cases, the department had lacked access to do proper studies. Mr. Gerson said, “All the reasons you cited are reasons why we should do full-fledged estimates before funding is in place.’’
Currently, various aspects of the park replacement project are delayed as much as two years, and due to rising construction costs, the budget is now at nearly $175 million, up $80 million from initial estimates. City officials and park activists are not pleased to hear this news, and the Parks Department bore the brunt of this debacle. That they could be unprepared for this construction effort is a bit mind-boggling.
While the Parks Department will eventually build the replacement parks, the land figures are still less than what was lost to the new Yankee Stadium. At least, however, there’s another agency in the city nearly as inept as as the MTA.