Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Harris Field Contamination Debacle Continues

The Big Cover Up.  Blue tarps cover some of the contaminated soil at the much delayed and severely over budget Harris Park field reconstruction site in the Bronx. For months the DPR has refused to answer specific questions about the contamination or to provide details on the clean up despite finding high levels of lead and other heavy metals. 
(photo: NYC Park Advocates)


A city plan to rebuild one of The Bronx's biggest sports fields has morphed into a money pit for taxpayers, according to the New York Post.

Workers renovating Harris Field in Bedford Park recently uncovered contaminated soil under the playing surfaces, helping push the anticipated cost to nearly $14 million, city officials told The Post.

The price tag for the renovation had already gone from the $6.6 million announced in 2007 to $8.7 million, records show.

Now the Parks Department is confirming that it has to add another $5.2 million for cleanup because of the high levels of lead unearthed while workers were preparing to install drainage-system tanks needed to restore the popular park's six playing fields.

The original playing fields at the park were grass, but the city plans to cover two with synthetic turf.

A Parks Department official wishing to remain anonymous said that contamination wouldn't be an issue if all the fields were going to be grass but that replacing two with turf requires digging deeper to install the drainage tanks. Karp says this is untrue.

A fiscal 2008 mayoral report showed the Parks Department topped city agencies in cost overruns with projects costing an average of 50 percent more than the original contract price. The city average was 17 percent.

Harris Field is in line to rise by more than 110 percent.

"The project shows just how poorly the city does its due diligence on parks projects," said Geoffrey Croft, of the nonprofit group New York City Park Advocates, when told of the costs.

The project's long delays are crippling a popular Little League that plays there.

Read More:

New York Post - January 19, 2010 -   By Rich Calder

The Norwood News - December 31, 2009 - By Alex Krantz

The Norwood News November 19, 2009 - Editorial 

The Norwood News - October 22, 2009 - By Megan  Taylor

Bronx News Network - October 9,  2009  -  By Megan  Taylor


  1. The contamination should be a cause for reconsidering the site and its purpose. Plantings of actual growing matter might be better placed to clean up the area. But if the fields absolutely must be made, there...Why not use the proposed artificial turf as just one layer to a cap?
    Really though, with that allowance aside, It is our responsibility to clean up these messes we make. With consciencious design/use

  2. gross.bizness as usual for the parks dept. they have no incentive to lower costs, they keep paying their contractor friends more money.

  3. this kind of things happen all over US but it hurts me more when i discover it;s happening in my city. I thought people here have all a small obsession for this superb city. I advice this moguls to take few New York City walking tours and this way maybe they'll rediscover it's beauty.