Yanks parks, garages still AWOL

Even as a federal judge rejected a lawsuit against the National Park Service over the New York Yankees stadium plan, on the grounds that “the residents of the South Bronx will have a complete replacement of all parkland facilities torn down as a result of construction,” Metro NY reports that construction of that parkland is already behind schedule. Reports Metro’s Patrick Arden:

According to this timeline, put together by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, one temporary track was supposed to have opened in July, and construction was set to begin in October and November on another interim track, a temporary ballfield and tennis courts on a waterfront
“esplanade.”

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion assured reporters just before the stadium groundbreaking, “Over the next few months, there will be a new track and there will be new fields – artificial turf baseball fields, soccer fields – right in the immediate vicinity of the new stadium.”

So far those promises have not been kept. As recently as two weeks ago, the Parks Dept. promised Community Board 4 construction would begin in November, but apparently contractors have not been solicited. “We have not bid out anything yet,” said Parks Dept. spokesman Warner Johnston. The first park facilities won’t be available until the spring.

Arden also reports that after a year’s search, the city still hasn’t found a developer willing to spend $250 million to build four new parking garages, and doesn’t expect to until next year sometime. The city promises that taxpayers won’t be left on the hook for the extra quarter-billion dollar outlay, but given that the numbers didn’t pencil out when it was only going to be $160 million, you have to wonder.

I’ve also received reports that the city may be considering scrapping one of the garages, though the Parks Department, which has been assigned the task of finding a garage developer, wouldn’t comment on this possibility. That could save construction costs, but would almost certainly reduce the ground rent that the city would collect from the garages – costing taxpayers on the back end. It seems very likely that we still don’t know the final public cost of this project.


2 comments on “Yanks parks, garages still AWOL

  1. Isn’t part of the “parkland” replacement on top of the new parking garages? If they eliminate some of the parking garages does it follow that the “parkland” will be reduced?

    I put “parkland” in quotes because I don’t consider tennis courts on top of parking garages to be parks.

  2. The most likely candidate for being eliminated is the garage on the far side of Jerome Avenue, which currently isn’t scheduled to have anything on top of it. (It was going to get tennis courts, but those got moved to the riverfront in the latest plan.) To further confuse matters, though, that is mapped parkland, though right now it’s used for surface parking. It’s one reason why Bronx residents argued they were losing more parkland than was being replaced, though apparently a judge begged to differ…