Today’s news:

First Yankee Stadium-generated park unveiled

While the Bronx has to wait until 2009 for the new Yankee Stadium, local children received their own new field today.  

Representatives from the Parks Department, P.S./M.S. 29:  The Melrose School, community leaders and residents attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new synthetic turf field on Friday, April 18.

The event marked the first completed project associated with the Macombs Dam/Yankee Stadium Redevelopment project, which helps to alleviate the needs of the community until the Macombs fields, currently displaced by the new stadium, is rebuilt when the current stadium becomes obsolete in 2009.   

The Melrose ball field, funded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office, the $2.4 million project creates a space for baseball, soccer and other activities.

 “This is the biggest period of park development since the 1930’s,” Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said; speaking of the net gain the field adds to the borough. 

“The Parks Department and the City of New York are dedicated to expanding recreational opportunities to neighborhoods across the City,” continued Benepe.  “The newly renovated playground and ball field at P.S. 29 are a great example of new recreational facilities being built throughout the Bronx, with more to come as Yankee Redevelopment projects are completed.”

In addition to creating a new synthetic turf field, on a formerly barren asphalt yard, which allows for more field use on a year-round basis.  A misting station, bleachers, new dugouts, gates and an accessible drinking fountain round out the additions to the project. 

The ball field will be jointly operated with the school.  P.S./M.S. 29 will have exclusive use of the field during school hours while the public will use the facility during after school hours and non-school days. 

Highlighting how capital improvements largely benefit the public, Bronx Parks Commissioner Hector Aponte discussed the importance of local parks.

“Through these investments, we increase the value of the homes in the area,” he said. 

P.S./M.S. 29 principal Meredith Gotlin agreed.

“It sends an amazing message that they are valuable and people care about them,” she offered.  “The park sets high standards for the students.”

And the community.  One of the most rousing moments of the celebration was Rodriquez’s announcement to the world that the South Bronx is back and no longer burning. He exclaimed, “Howard Cossell, eat your heart out!”

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