While Yankees Play, the Bronx Waits for Its Promised Parks

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The Yankees might just bring the pennant back to the Bronx this year, but they won't be bringing ball fields to the borough for at least another two. The Bronx News Network is reporting that Heritage Field, the last of the replacement parks to be built on the site of the old Yankee Stadium, won't be finished until at least 2011.

There's been no shortage of recreational athletes and teams displaced by the construction of the Bombers' new $1.5 billion home. Macombs Dam Park, which contained baseball fields used by youth leagues in the South Bronx, was one of eight parks demolished when the new Yankee Stadium broke ground.

The Parks Department, whose website makes a " promise to replace every inch of parkland displaced by the construction of the new Yankee Stadium, while also providing additional usable recreational space," originally said seven of those eight parks would be finished by opening day this past
spring.

Alas, it has not gone to schedule. Bronx ball teams played their home games in other boroughs this season. And as for that "additional usable recreational space," the civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel says that when all is said and done, there will be four acres less of parkland than there were before.

In a briefing last night, the Parks Department outlined the construction schedule for the remaining work. A portion of Macombs Dam Park, with a running track, is already open from 6 AM to 10 PM. But BNN notes Bronx residents voiced concern that before the new stadium, the track was open 24/7. For people who jog before work, it can be hard to wait until 6 to start.

The baseball fields (there will be three of them) will go in a new park called Heritage Field. The good news is that this field will contain some famous elements from the old Yankee Stadium. The bad news is that they won't be done until 2011, leaving Bronx kids without a ball field for another two years.

Construction for Heritage Field will be handled by Turner Construction, who built the house Steinbrenner built and will demolish the house that Ruth built.


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