U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, NY Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, NYC Council Member Eric Dinowitz, and Local Environmental Groups Raise Concerns about Proposed Cricket Stadium in Van Cortlandt Park

Sep 01, 2023
Press

BRONX, N.Y. – U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15), New York Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, and New York City Council Member Eric Dinowitz today joined a coalition of local community and environmental groups to raise concerns about New York City’s proposal to construct a temporary 34,000 seat cricket stadium on the Parade Ground of Van Cortlandt Park – a crown jewel of the Bronx – and in close proximity to the Enslaved African Burial Ground.

“Van Cortlandt Park is one of the greatest parks in our city. It is a citywide treasure. The local government cannot be allowed to desecrate one of the crown jewels of New York City,” said U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “The International Cricket Council proposal for a massive cricket stadium could not be allowed to stand in my 20 years in government, both as a staffer and as an elected official. I have never seen such a massive proposal have such little community engagement. We in the community feel blindsided and even betrayed by the sheer sidedness of the city’s decision to construct a massive stadium in our local community in our local park without community engagement.”

“I cannot overstate the importance of protecting Van Cortlandt Park, something which I have tried to do for my entire tenure as a member of the New York State Assembly,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-81). “Parkland is precious and is protected by law. It cannot be treated as a slab of real estate. The proposed cricket stadium, while perhaps well-intentioned, stands to have a very negative impact on Van Cortlandt Park. The construction of the temporary 34,000 seat stadium could produce significant damage. Having the actual event there with all the people and traffic it would bring would have a very harmful effect on the Parade Ground. In addition, countless users of the park would be denied the opportunity to use that area of the park for the better part of the year. Furthermore, the legal obstacles, including the need for park alienation legislation by the legislature, as well as an environmental impact statement, could take many months to resolve and make this proposal unworkable. This must not move forward.”

“Our NYC Parks are not for sale, and Van Cortlandt Park is no exception,” said NYC Council Member Eric Dinowitz (District 11). “The construction of a 34,000-seat temporary stadium may do significant damage to our park, while restricting access to park goers and cricket players for more than half the year. Our community deserves to be heard, and to date, our concerns about impact on the park, quality of life, and our local economy have not been meaningfully addressed, nor have longstanding issues of safety and quality of life surrounding the park. The current, future, and past issues, along with logistical and legal concerns, makes this current proposal untenable.”

As previously outlined in a joint public statement, Rep. Torres, Assemblyman Dinowitz, and Council Member Dinowitz appreciate the city’s recognition of Van Cortlandt Park as a premiere park, outdoor destination for the Bronx, and possible host site for the 2024 Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup.

However, they are seriously concerned that the proposed cricket stadium would deprive the Bronx community from accessing and enjoying a large portion of the public park for an extended amount of time and could cause potential negative impacts and damage to the park’s infrastructure and historic landscape, including the nearby Enslaved African Burial Ground. Additional concerns include the safety and management of such a large-scale event, the potential for thousands of cars to enter the park without sufficient parking, and the city’s ability to address the park’s quality of life for the duration of the tournament and afterward.

The following individuals and organizations have also offered statements of opposition to the cricket stadium as currently proposed in Van Cortlandt Park:

“We appreciate Mayor Adams’ and the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) efforts to bring the 2024 T20 Cricket World Cup to New York City. However, we strongly oppose the use of the Van Cortlandt Park Parade Ground for this proposal,” said Sherrise Palomino, Director of Advocacy and Programs at New Yorkers for Parks. “We stand with the local elected leaders, business and environmental groups, park stewards, schools, and cricket, baseball, soccer, and track organizations who have similarly voiced opposition. A public park is not an appropriate site for a 20-acre stadium seating 34,000 people for a private, ticketed event. Closure of this space to the public for a minimum of 7 months is a misuse of public parkland, displacing thousands of park users and cutting off the valuable public recreational and cultural programming that regularly occur on this site. We urge the administration to find alternative sites in the city to host this event.”

“Van Cortlandt Park Alliance opposes the International Cricket Council’s outrageous plan to steal Bronx parkland for their own profit,” said Christina Taylor, Deputy Director, Van Cortlandt Park Alliance. “Taking the park away from tens of thousands of local school children, athletes, and families who need open space for their health and well-being is nothing short of a crime. Van Cortlandt Park Alliance says no to ICC’s plan to poach the people’s park for a year to build a structure the size of Yankee Stadium with no public process, feasibility study, or respect for community input, and no plan for restoration or compensation.”

“The Bronx Arts Ensemble provides free concerts in public parks. Through our partnership with the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance, we have held many concerts here in Van Cortlandt. This park has become a home for us, for which our organization depends upon unimpeded public access,” said the Bronx Arts Ensemble. “The construction and operation of a Cricket Stadium in this beautiful park would limit public access for many months, interfering with the enjoyment of the beautiful music that Van Cortlandt Park users have come to love and expect. BAE urges Mayor Adams to rescind his administration’s bid to host the 2024 International Cricket World Cup, and to vastly improve transparency and public communication with respect to this proposal.”

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