The Yankees are planning to make a big announcement next Wednesday about what they are doing for their Bronx neighbors, just as some of those neighbors are wondering what happened to the goodies promised six months ago.
More than six months after the agreement was signed and two months after the groundbreaking, is it too early to complain about lack of progress?
In April, Bronx City Council Members, the Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion and the Yankees agreed to a “community benefits program” in return for City Council approval of the new stadium. The agreement stipulated that the signatories would form a construction advisory committee to oversee building and would meet “not less than once a month … for the duration of the project.” Bid packages for minority and locally owned contractors would be prepared “as soon as practicable.” Plus, a “fund advisory panel” was supposed to be established “upon the commencement of the project” which would govern a nonprofit in charge of doling out $800,000 donated by the baseball team annually.
“From our point of view, this stuff should be further along than it is,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, explaining that the Yankees had no trouble getting construction underway quickly. (Macombs Dam Park and part of Mullaly Park, where the new stadium will go, are now closed off, and it will take years to build their replacements.)
City Council Member Joel Rivera said that the advisory board and nonprofit were still being formed but that an update would be given at next week’s Bronx Chamber of Commerce banquet, which just so happens to be honoring Yankees President Randy Levine. Council Members Maria Baez and Maria Del Carmen Arroyo did not return calls while a spokesperson for Carrion referred calls to the Yankees. “We are making great progress and we are well over our targets in terms of hiring and contractors,” a Yankees spokesperson said. “We are in the very early stages and we will not release specifics.”
If they want to set up that nonprofit in time for Wednesday’s announcement, there is still time. Eamon Moynihan, a spokesman for the New York State Department of State, said that the normal turnaround for incorporating nonprofits is six days. “But you can pay extra to get it done sooner.”