Baseball season is done and over with, but Bronx residents are still waiting to go to the park. When the city approved the construction of the new Yankee Stadium, it allowed the ballclub to pave over 20.8 acres of parkland. In return, the city promised neighbors it would construct eight smaller greenspaces including public ballfields called Heritage Field as soon as the old Yankee Stadium was demolished. But "The House That Ruth Built" continues to stand, and Bronx residents still don't have much of that new parkland.
Though demolition of the old Yankee Stadium was supposed to begin a year ago, plans were just filed with the Department of Buildings two weeks ago, according to NY1, due in part to a lengthy dispute between the city and the Yankees over the sale of iconic seats from the old stadium. Now that the permits are finally filed, officials insist that demolition will end by summer so the heavily-hyped Heritage Field park can open by fall 2011.
But neighbors and open space activists remain skeptical, especially since the only piece of the much-lauded greenspace to be finished — a waterfront space called Mill Pond Park — came two years late and cost taxpayers $64 million, not the promised $12 million. "It continues to be a debacle. It was a great season for the Yankees, but unfortunately it is continuing to be a nightmare for the community and the city's tax payers," said NYC Park Advocates President Geoffrey Croft.