As the new Yankee Stadium has gone up, I’ve written a few pieces about the Yankees, the city and the whole deal with the parks. In short, I don’t think that the Yanks and the city have played fairly in their park dealings.
The Yankees and the city were supposed to replace the parkland lost when the Yanks and the city agreed to build the new stadium on the spot of the popular Macombs Dam Park. However, neither side has upheld its own part of the bargain, and a new report has come to light accusing New York and the Yankees of deceptively stealing parkland from South Bronx communities. Alex Kratz at the Norwood News reports:
The New York Yankees baseball club and city officials are shortchanging residents on public parkland they promised to replace, and even expand, upon completing the new Yankee Stadium, charges a new report released last week by park advocates.
New York City Park Advocates released its report, “Broken Promises: The City’s Replacement Park Scheme for the New Yankee Stadium Project” last Thursday. It says that without a single public hearing, city and state officials alienated 25.3 acres of historic South Bronx parkland and then said it would be returned fully and then some. The report goes on to say that “a close examination reveals” that only 21.78 acres are being replaced.
The biggest discrepancy in the numbers, according to the report, comes down to the fact that a 2.89-acre asphalt baseball field in Macombs Dam Park (which is being replaced) was not considered in the city’s final analysis. City officials said they didn’t consider it a “recreational facility,” even though residents had used it for baseball, football, bike riding and other uses for decades, the report says.
The report — which you can read in full here at the NYC Park Advocates’ site — is more damning of the city than of the Yankees, but the team, which issued constant promises of adequate replacements for the lost parkland, shoulders some of the blame as well.
I keep coming back to this issue because I’m a firm believer in good government. At this point, I’ve come to terms with the existence of the new stadium. It’s there; it will open next year; and whether we like it or not, there are now just 49 regular season games left in the House that Ruth Built.
But just because the Yankees are a big draw in the Bronx and a powerful organization within the confines of the city doesn’t mean that they should bilk the surrounding communities out of parkland. The team has the fiscal resources and the city has the ability to right these parkland wrongs; there’s no reason why this story of green spaces in a borough noted for its lack of well-maintained greenlands can’t have a happy ending.