Things are finally on schedule.
That's the message that city Parks Department officials are expected to deliver Monday night at their quarterly update on the redevelopment of parkland around the new Yankee Stadium.
After years of delays and red tape, the city has opened several new parks around the Stadium, and says it has a firm sense of when it will complete the much anticipated Heritage Field.
Critics still charge that the city is shortchanging local residents, who saw the destruction of some 25 acres of parkland around Yankee Stadium when the Bombers built their new home.
Department regulations require Parks to replace every acre of parkland that was destroyed when building the new Yankee Stadium.
Croft said the city is coming up at least 3 acres short in its current plans. City officials insist they are redeveloping not 22 - but more than 32 - acres around the Stadium. Croft calls this a "fabrication."
"It's a dog and pony show, and they basically shrug their shoulders and act like everything is okay," Croft said of the quarterly updates. "The thing is a mess. It's just a mess."
At Monday night's meeting, officials are expected to announce that the River Ave. skate park is completed, and set for a formal ribbon-cutting that will take place this month.
The River Ave. playground is expected to be completed by the end of June.
The city Economic Development Corporation, which is overseeing most of the redevelopment, will announce that Heritage Field - on the site of the now demolished House That Ruth Built - is expected to be completed by the fall of 2011. It will include three new baseball fields.
Last week, earthmovers and other construction vehicles were already being used there.
Monday night's meeting will take place at the Bronx district attorney's office, 198 E. 161st St., third floor, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The meeting is open to the public, and a question and answer session will follow the presentation.
Sentiment among area residents polled recently concerning the efforts at parkland redevelopment was mixed.
"They took away a lot," said Joseph Texeira, 39, of Jerome Ave. as he walked his dog through Macombs Dam Park. "The old jogging field was much better. The new one is all artificial turf and it feels fake. There's no trees. It's just not natural."
Michael Smith, 35, of 149th St., disagreed as he wrapped up a run around the new track, Joseph Yancy Track and Field, while a number of others jogged around it on a recent morning.
The facility also includes four basketball courts, eight handball courts and fitness equipment.
"This is beautiful," said Smith. "It's just beautiful. When I called my mother and told her about this, she was shocked because she remembered what the Bronx used to be like.
"I mean, this is a full-fledged field. They may have taken some away when they built the new stadium, but look at what they gave back."
"I'm not happy," said 10-year-old Jason Miller, as he played with friends in John Mullaly Park.
"They took our park away and the new one isn't finished yet. I've been coming here all my life and I didn't see why the Yankees needed a new stadium. The old one was fine."
The redevelopment project has been fraught with delays and controversy.
The skate park was originally set to open in 2007 and Joseph Yancy Track and Field, which opened in April, was initially scheduled for completion in 2009.