Several years ago, as the Yankees negotiated to build a new stadium in the South Bronx, the neighborhood faced the realities of a massive construction project in its midst: parks would be closed and moved, traffic would be horrendous, life would be, for a while, a hassle.
Yankee Stadium Is Going Up, but Bronx Still Seeks Benefits
So, as one way to make up for these inconveniences, the Yankees and elected officials signed a community benefits agreement. It required that the team would give roughly $1.2 million a year, starting when the work began, to various community groups through a special panel. The deal was similar to agreements in other major projects, like Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Columbia University’s expansion into Harlem.
But nearly 17 months after construction began, as workers race to complete the new Yankee Stadium by opening day 2009, none of that money has been distributed, and the group responsible for administering it has never met.
The seven-member panel also has not chosen a permanent chairman, registered as a charity with either the Internal Revenue Service or the state attorney general’s office, or selected recipients for $800,000 in grants or $450,000 in free tickets, merchandise and athletic equipment.
Elected officials have complained that they are in the dark.