Baseball may be a game of numbers, but this is ridiculous: Sports fans (or just concerned taxpayers) who opened their morning paper today could read that the city cost of building new parks to replace those obliterated for a new Yankees stadium had risen 48% to $190 million, and also 122% to $288 million. It’s enough to make WXRL seem easy to understand by comparison.
The explanation, it turns out, is that it depends on what you mean by “parks.”
The Parks Department rolled out two new numbers for Yankees-related costs at a council budget hearing yesterday: $282 million for all direct city expenses, including a new Metro-North station, road and water main work, and demolition of the old ballpark; and $190 million for just the new parks themselves. It’s the latter figure, Parks spokesperson Jama Adams told the Voice, that represents the best apples-to-apples comparison, as an increase of 48% over the city’s initial $130 million projection; to blame, she says, are not just the general inflation afflicting all construction projects these days, but unforeseen obstacles like an old oil tank that was unearthed once digging began.
Only one problem: $130 million was not the original cost for parks alone. Mayor Bloomberg’s initial announcement of the Yankees stadium deal in June 2005 indicated the city would spend $135 million “to replace parkland and make necessary infrastructure improvements.” The parkland cost itself, according the draft environmental impact statement released by the city that fall, was expected to be just $101.3 million — making the most recent parks-only numbers a nearly 88% jump in less than three years.
As for the larger $282 million figure for the city’s total tab, Economic Development Corporation spokesperson Janel Patterson breaks it down this way:
The mathematically inclined will note that this adds up to, at most, $260 million, leaving a $22 million gap that Patterson hadn’t explained as of the time of this post. Does Jason Giambi count as infrastructure?