Just last night, dozens of community members gathered at the offices of Bronx Legal Services to discuss the deals that were being made without any community input in relation to the proposed Major League Soccer stadium for the New York City Football Club.
According to Joyce Hogi, resident of the neighborhood for 35 years and who attended the meeting last night, a community board member was in attendance and claimed that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr had not met with the board on the issue.
“When the boro president has not brought it to the community board…deals were being done.” said Hogi. She went on to say, “We don’t need to support another monolith structure in our community without some significant benefits to the communities. These should come from the communities, not the politicians!”
William Casari, who has lived on the Concourse since 2005 and is just a few short blocks from the proposed site said, “We don’t need another “fortress” in the neighborhood that is only going to be open on game days and is not going to include the community unless we buy tickets. I am not in favor of the stadium unless a specific community benefits agreement is worked out where the immediate community will benefit. This entire proposal needs to be reviewed.”
This morning residents woke up to what many considered terrible news: Another deal made behind their backs. A soccer stadium deal with a reported price tag of anywhere from $300 million to $400 million as reported by the New York Post and the Daily News.
The location in question is saddled between the Gateway Mall at the Bronx Terminal Market and Heritage Field which is the location of the old Yankee Stadium. Also on proposed footprint of the new stadium is GAL
Manufacturing, which currently employs several hundred individuals, a parking garage for Yankee Stadium which has since defaulted on its loans and of course East 153rd Street which would need to be de-mapped to build the stadium.
NYCFC is currently seeking space to relocate GAL Manufacturing and according to the Daily News, as well as paying the bondholders of the defaulted parking garage up to $25 million.
This is a residential area that suffers from massive traffic congestion problems for residents as the population has risen in the area along with developments like the Gateway Center Mall at the Bronx Terminal Market.
When a Yankee game or event is on at the stadium, you can forget about finding parking or driving in your own neighborhood.
If E 153rd Street is de-mapped then you are only adding a logistical disaster in terms of vehicular traffic in the area. Instead of 3 access points on and off the Major Deegan Expressway /I87 we will end up with 2 severely bottlenecking traffic.
Julio Pabon, president of the South Bronx Community Association – a coalition of residents and homeowners in the immediate area says, “The South Bronx Community Association is concerned with the additional traffic & parking problems this will add to our already congested situation. Residential Parking permits is something we have been trying to get for years. There is no way our Association, who’s members all live in the immediate area, will agree to this project unless we see how our problems are addressed.”
What of the economic impact? Moving GAL Manufacturing will cause the area to lose over 300 real jobs vs the shoddy, seasonal minimum wage jobs a sports complex will bring in.
Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News sums up his article and pretty much says what needs to be said:
“Now the garage company is bankrupt and the city is owed nearly $50 million in back rent and taxes that it will never recover.
So why are city officials considering yet more subsidies to a new sports franchise controlled by the Yankees and a sheik whose family oversees more than $400 billion in oil wealth?
28,000 seating capacity
$300 million in tax-free bonds
38 years of free rent
$25 million in payout to parking lot owners
$400 billion in oil wealth controlled by Abu Dhabi Sheik Mansour”
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/bronx-soccer-stadium-deal-offers-free-rent-arab-firm-article-1.1544173#ixzz2nBSyEpxB
Is it any wonder why residents are fed up of backroom deals costing taxpayers billions of dollars for little return on their investment?
Do you understand why many residents, myself included, fight against dirty deals like FreshDirect where our own elected officials have thrown us under the bus in exchange for just bragging rights?
I am not anti development and nor are the vast majority of individuals who oppose these deals. What we oppose is giving away billions of our dollars without our approval or input.