Yanks Cleared To Break Ground For New Stadium
Posted 16 August 2006 - 09:23 AM
NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Yankees can break ground Wednesday for their new ballpark next to Yankee Stadium after a state judge struck down an environmental challenge to the construction, saying trees don't have legal protection.
Even before Tuesday's ruling by state Supreme Court Justice Herman Cahn, the team announced it planned to conduct a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday. Construction is to start a day later.
The team, which has played at its Bronx ballpark since 1923, plans to move to the new 53,000-seat, $800 million stadium for the 2009 season.
The judge rejected an effort by Save Our Parks, an association of about 100 households in the neighborhoods where the new ballpark will be built, to stop the city from removing trees at the construction site.
"Trees themselves have no legal protection," Cahn said.
Communities were protected through environmental impact statements and reports but there was no legal bar to cutting down trees to permit a project that benefits the city and the community, he said.
"The trees are not owed more deference than the community as a whole," he said.
He acknowledged the Yankees' threat to leave the city if construction does not begin, saying it was a "real and significant possibility."
The group's lawyers asked the judge to block construction while he more fully heard their arguments that the city did not honestly explore the impact of the new stadium on the neighboring communities' parkland, open space and 15,000 students at 19 schools.
A lawyer for the organization did not immediately return a telephone call for comment Tuesday.
The judge did not toss out the group's lawsuit but said its claims seemed unlikely to succeed and were insufficient to block construction.
The judge noted early in his 20-page decision that the Yankees need a modern stadium with more off-street parking, especially since the current stadium does not properly accommodate those with disabilities.
"What might have been adequate in 1923 or during the mid-1970s is not adequate in the 21st century," he wrote.
He noted that the project will increase parkland by more than 2 acres and add facilities including a track, a soccer field, ballfields, 16 tennis courts and four basketball courts. He said the community would be without recreational facilities for up to four and a half years, though a running track would be available throughout.
Lawyers for Save Our Parks had argued that's a long time in the life of a child in a poor neighborhood where children suffer from asthma, obesity and diabetes.
The program, the judge said, was approved by the Bronx borough president, the City Council and the national parks department.
Its time for a new Yankees Stadium.
Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:16 AM
Member since March 25, 2005.
Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:19 AM