To the editor:
(re: “Mayor’s cricket plan at Vannie questioned,” July 27)
I’ve been reading with interest and concern about Mayor Eric Adams’ proposed temporary cricket stadium inside the oval at the fairgrounds in Van Cortlandt Park.
Let me come clean to say I am opposed to this proposal. But I am mindful of considering substitutes for such a proposal. I have two in mind — both grounded in the potential reasoning behind this idea.
First of all, I believe Mayor Adams is rightfully concerned with the economic development of the Bronx. I share this concern. However, any temporary structure would only temporarily infuse economic breath into the area, and at significant cost.
If the primary reason for the stadium proposal is to bring business into the Bronx, then it would be far better to use that money to redevelop the already existing small stadium just south of the fairgrounds into a multi-level, multipurpose sporting area akin to Chelsea Piers in Manhattan.
“The Kingsbridge Athletic Center” could be a public/private enterprise addressing the significant need and desire of Bronx residents to safely skate, bowl, swim, shoot hoops, swing a bat or a racquet, run track, and kick a ball year round. Chelsea Piers is probably a for-profit venture, but a similar Bronx version need not be as costly for annual membership in a sport — or several — of choice.
I’m not going to elaborate on all the ways this could be designed or funded. Suffice to say that there is a ton of room here for innovation that would contribute in the long run to the economic and social development of the Bronx, with minimal effect on the environmentally vital setting that is Van Cortlandt Park.
Secondly, it’s possible the mayor is indeed actually interested in cricket and wants to encourage the game here in the Bronx. OK — in this case, let’s look at the Kingsbridge Armory. That space is ginormous! Certainly large enough to build a permanent indoor stadium for cricket and soccer — another newish but vital sport in need of permanent venue space.
I am not totally sure that cricket can be played indoors. Certainly that would be unconventional. But, it’s certainly worth an investigation.
The armory seems to be looking for a purpose. Cutting it up into smaller spaces seems like an under-development of the size of the space. And adding more businesses inside would compete with those struggling outside.
Why not look at the vastness of the armory as its major asset, and imagine accordingly?