Professional Soccer Club Could Soon Be Bronx Bound
NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Professional soccer could be coming to the Bronx.
The city is working on a deal that would put a soccer stadium down the street from Yankee Stadium, CBS 2’s Sonia Rincon reported.
The stadium would play host to the New York City Football Club, a partnership between the Manchester City Football Club of England and the Yankees.
Community opposition kicked any soccer stadium plans for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, so the new plan is to put it in the Bronx, just south of the old Yankee Stadium in a park that is now known as Heritage Field.
A city owned parking garage would be torn down and G.A.L Manufacturing Corp, an elevator part company on 153rd street, would have to move to make room for the $350-million facility.
City bonds would cover most of the initial cost, according to a source close to the negotiations, the New York Football Club would then have to pay that money back.
The Manchester City Football Club is owned by billionaire Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahayan. When reached for comment club spokesperson Risa Heller said that the club was looking for a home.
“NYCFC is looking for a home, not simply a place to play. As we have said from the start, we are reviewing sites all over the city,” Heller said.
The Yankees did not offer a comment but other Bronx residents had plenty to say.
“How is it gonna benefit us in this neighborhood at all?” Christine Bunyan said,”It’ll make more congestion. I don’t care for soccer, who cares for soccer? They’re gonna benefit from it but the neighborhood’s not gonna benefit from it.”
Others had a brighter outlook for the possibility of soccer in the Bronx.
“When I first heard about it, at first I’m like. Soccer? The Bronx is known for baseball, what are they doing?” Amir Anderson said, “But then I thought about it I started thinking to myself, it’s time for another positive change. To me I think it’s a positive thing and I’m going to join in. I’m gonna learn how to play soccer.”
Killian Jordan sits on the local community board’s parks and recreation committee. She said that the problem with the way the stadium was built was that the community was kept out of the process, but if the project is done the right way it could benefit the community.
“Oh I think this is a huge soccer neighborhood, yeah. Absolutely. I think there are lots of people here and amazing numbers of schools here that could benefit from the resources of a soccer arena if they don’t build it the way they built the stadium. The stadium is a fortress designed to keep people out,” Jordan said.
Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio has reportedly expressed concern about investing public money to support a team that is co-owned by one of the wealthiest people in the world.
The city also stands to lose revenue from the garage which is located on city park land and whose operators are on the verge of bankruptcy and owe millions in back taxes and rent.
The neighborhood has also said that it is still owed about three acres of park land from the Yankee Stadium deal.
“We all understand that soccer, they want their own home but it doesn’t have to be at the expense of public park land,” Jeffrey Kraft from the New York Parks Advocate told 1010 WINS reporter Gary Baumgarten.
If all goes according to plan soccer will be played in the new stadium in 2018.
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