Bronx residents asked to give up replacement Yankees parkland to build affordable housing

If you’ve been reading this site for long enough, you may remember the battles over the public parkland destroyed to make way for the new New York Yankees stadium, and whether the new parkland belatedly created was of equal size and usability. (Short version: not so much.) According to today’s New York Post, however, the subject is about to rear its ugly head again, as the city is preparing to take four acres of promised Yankees-related parkland and instead use it for affordable housing:

The area lost more than 25 acres of parkland after the Bronx Bombers in 2005 were greenlighted to build their new ballpark.

At the time, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. George Pataki and the Yankees promised to eventually create more parkland than was lost. But only about 21 acres of new green space has been delivered.

Killian Jordan, a member of Bronx Community Board 4, called it “spectacularly inappropriate” that the city would be dangling the hope of bringing the neighborhood much-needed affordable housing at the expense of losing promised parkland…

The [city-run Economic Development Corporation] said it is considering acquiring a 2.5-acre lot, five blocks south of Mill Pond Park on East 144th Street, to build another park there.

There is a slim chance that all this would be illegal, thanks to the fact that the old parkland was decommissioned on the condition that equal new park space be created. As we’ve seen before, though, the laws surrounding parks alienation are pretty weak beyond “enh, whatever the city council and legislature decides is probably fine,” so this is likely to come down to how big a fight council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wants to pick with Mayor Bill de Blasio. And either way, all the parkland still hasn’t been replaced, 11 years after it was obliterated. It’s just a win-win for everybody!

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6 comments on “Bronx residents asked to give up replacement Yankees parkland to build affordable housing

  1. Once again the billionaires & political extornists get what they want at the expense of the middle class and working poor.

    1. Genius. It is almost like the rich assholes know what they are doing. They probably hire professionals to help them and everything.

  2. Be weary of what you read as most of the parks that were removed before the New Stadium was built were in deplorable conditions. The
    current site of the New Stadium was in fact a park in very poor condition
    that doubled as a parking lot during the playoffs. The Old Stadium site
    in now a beautiful park with turf fields as well as a park on top of the
    new parking garages so as I see it the area is much more improved as before the stadium was built.

    1. I’ve spent a lot of time in both the now-gone parks and the new ones, and you’re half-right: Macombs Dam Park, where the stadium now stands, had a lot of dirt patches, largely because it was so heavily used. (It wasn’t the park that was used for parking during games — that was across the street, on the site of the new parking garage with the park on top. The new parks are kept in pristine shape because one of them is artificial turf, while others are limited to use by baseball permit holders, and baseball is a lot less tough on turf than soccer and football. And the new tennis courts are way down by the river, tough to get to from where anyone lives.

      So, the city could have accomplished the same thing by leaving the stadium where it was, turfing over the soccer field, and moving the baseball to a different part of the park. For a couple hundred million dollars less, and without the six summers when local kids had nowhere to play, because everything was under construction. The Parks Department did a decent job of designing the replacement parks, but that’s not to say that it was the best way of improving the public space.

  3. “Economic Development Corp. is pushing plans to build up to 1,045 units of market-rate and affordable housing as well as commercial space ”

    Given the market rate and commercial space comments, I’d guess this isn’t even going to be mostly affordable housing. Just sounds like some developer wants to build a fancy new waterfront (and park adjacent) building (also a desirable spot since it just a few blocks from the 2,3,4, and 5 trains), and is willing to offer some affordable apartments (standard 80/20 building?). Granted I think that sort of mixed development is healthier and less prone to neglect and ghettofication than exclusively low income development, but still I suspect whatever they are planning is nor really affordable housing.

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