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Preservancy Statement: Temporary Stadium in Van Cortlandt Park to Host the Cricket World Cup



Dear Mayor Adams,


The Riverdale Nature Preservancy is a non-profit organization operating in the northwest Bronx since 1986. We raise procedural and substantive concerns regarding the proposed construction of a 34,000 seat temporary stadium to house the Cricket World Cup.

Good governance dictates that this proposed construction project on public park land follows the ordinary course of public review. A project of this scale merits creation of an environmental impact statement which would allow elected officials to make an informed decision and provide a basis for community feedback. Alienation of parkland for private use requires approval by our state legislature, which is not scheduled to reconvene until January 2024. However, the proposal calls for construction to begin in January 2024. Procedural safeguards which ensure transparency in government cannot be compromised due to the timelines required for execution of this one-time seasonal event. The Preservancy also has concerns about the impact of this proposal on public access to green space and the long term ecological health of Van Cortlandt Park (“VCP”). Under this plan, twenty acres of public parkland would be alienated from use by our community to the benefit of the organizers of the Cricket World Cup, a Dubai-based organization with a reported income of over $200 million in 2022. New Yorkers use the VCP Parade Ground for sports and recreation year-round, and displacement would have a negative impact on the community.  Additionally, the City has yet to satisfactorily address quality of life concerns associated with VCP which the community has been expressing for years. If the City cannot provide a PEP officer or other measure to remediate the loud parties and the accompanying litter, as well as security concerns within VCP until now, it stands to reason that bringing in a stream of thousands will only exacerbate quality of life problems.

Our organization seeks greater assurance that the ecology and historic areas in VCP will not be sacrificed to short-term development. A temporary stadium will undoubtedly disturb or destroy plant life in its footprint. Crowds of thousands passing in and out of the park will leave a human footprint on this green space as well. VCP is home to historic areas which our community has preserved, including an Enslaved African Burial Ground. The proposal fails to offer an explicit explanation as to how it will ensure that the green space and historic areas in the stadium’s vicinity will not be destroyed by the structure or the crowds it invites. It also fails to guarantee that the reasonable finances will be set aside to restore any damage to this public green space.


Van Cortlandt Park is a local treasure to the people of the northwest Bronx and all New Yorkers. We value it as a public green space and historic site, and are struggling at present activity levels to obtain the security and maintenance budgets necessary to support quality of life and continued community enjoyment of the space. The Cricket World Cup will be gone as quickly as it came. We call for thorough procedural review of this proposal, and City action in line with the voice of the community.

Sincerely,


Sherida E. Paulsen     Jessica Haller

Chairman                 President

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