Saturday, November 14, 2009

Heritage Field One Year Behind - So Far. EDC & Mayor's Press Office Continued Amnesia Over Schedules

Demolition of Yankee stadium and the building of Heritage field, originally slated to open in 2010, are more than a year behind schedule—yet representatives from the EDC and the Mayor's press office continue to say they are "On Schedule."

According to the final environmental impact statement issued for the stadium project, "The demolition of the existing stadium is expected to last about 15 months beginning in the third quarter of 2008 and finishing during the third quarter of 2009."

However, according to NYC Park Advocates, the city did not even put out the request for qualifications — the first step in finding contractors to be invited to prepare bids for the deconstruction — until Fall of 2008, when the project was scheduled to begin.

The structural and mechanical demolition permits for the stadium were not issued by the Department of Permits until October 31, 2009 — more than a year after demolition was supposed to be completed.

Not to be deterred by facts, for months the Bloomberg administration has attempted to rewrite history: at a replacement park update meeting on October 7th in the Bronx, John Seaboldt, the program manager for AECOM, the engineering firm handling the demolition of the stadium, said the "project is on schedule." When told the project is more than a year behind the original schedule he responded, "It's on the schedule that I've been given."

David Lombino, a former reporter for the NY Sun and now a spokesperson for the NYC Economic Development Corporation, the agency overseeing the demolition of the old stadium, said everything is proceeding according to schedule, according to the Village Voice (August 17, 2009).

Possibly feeling left out of the deceit, City Hall got into the act:

"There has been no delay in the deconstruction schedule and none is anticipated," City Hall spokesman Andrew Brent told the Daily News on October 13, 2009.

And on November 14, EDC was at it again, this time trying to spin NY 1 (Bronx Residents Wait For Parks At Old Stadium Site.)

A particularly sad moment in the NY 1 report came when reporter Dean Meminger speaks to a hapless State Senator José M. Serrano who happened to be ambling around the track.

"I think it is important that we elected officials and the community as a whole stay very vigilant on making sure the parks department and the DOT do everything they said they were going to do." Elected official vigilance? As the neighborhood surrounding Yankee stadium and the city's taxpayers can attest, if there is a single word one would not use to describe the actions of the elected officials regarding this nightmare project, 'vigilance' would be it. And the DOT? HUH?

José M. Serrano of course should not be mistaken for his equally uniformed father, Congressman José E. Serrano, who in 2006 was stopped by security for trying to jog on the old track in Macombs Dam Park which had already been seized by the Yankees - an action his son and his colleagues dutifully secured. How's that for elected official vigilance!

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