The city’s Economic Development Corp. has announced its support for plans to build up to 1,045 units of market-rate and affordable housing and commercial space on a vacant four-acre stretch of East 149th Street in The Bronx, the New York Post reports. The city had promised a decade ago to replace the more than 25 acres of parkland that was lost when the new Yankee Stadium was greenlighted in 2005; the vacant space was to be the last leg of the Mill Pond Park, off the Harlem River. Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates, a watchdog group, said the “sleazy switcheroo” “screams of Brooklyn Bridge Park all over again,” referring to promised waterfront parkland that that became high-rise housing instead.
Mill Pond Park Powerhouse.
Last year the city came through with a long-delayed park on the Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront to appease locals there who had been similarly been promised parkland in 2005 as a giveback for a controversial neighborhood rezoning in favor of high rise housing.
Activists met with representatives of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is also the legislator representing the affected Mott Haven neighborhood, last week in an effort to to lobby her to block the development, which must go through a review process before City Council approval. Mark-Viverito has said she remains undecided and that she is “reviewing this proposal.”
Then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. George Pataki and the Yankees had promised to replace the lost parkland–and then some. But only about 21 acres have been delivered so far.
Bronx Community Board 4 member Killian Jordan called the move of offering admittedly much-needed affordable housing at the expense of the promised parkland “spectacularly inappropriate,” suggesting that the EDC build the affordable housing on city-owned land used for stadium parking instead.
EDC officials are saying that the planned mixed-use project will be a win for the community because it will not only include some open space but that it will bring jobs to the neighborhood. The agency also says it’s considering a 2.5 acre lot five blocks to the south of Mill Pond Park on East 144th Street for another park. EDC spokeswoman Stephanie Baez said, ““We have a booming population that needs both affordable housing and recreational space, and [our] . . . investment strategy aims to do just that.”
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Neighborhoods : Bronx