Apparently, local elected and cricket leagues are not the only ones opposed to Mayor Eric Adams’ proposed temporary 34,000-seat cricket stadium on the parade ground of Van Cortlandt Park to host the 2024 T20 Cricket World Cup.
A total of 29 groups and 144 individuals on Aug. 19 have signed an open letter to New York City and state officials as well as the International Cricket Council.
In addition to the letter put forth by the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, there is a legal memorandum that addresses “the potential violations of law presented by the International Cricket Commission’s (sic) request to New York City for a concession, permit or license to utilize approximately 20 acres of Van Cortlandt’s parade grounds.”
“Prior to issuing any approval for a stadium in a park, New York City needs to comply with the public trust doctrine, the state Environmental Quality Review Act, the NYC Zoning Resolution, local concession regulations and other laws,” read the memo from attorney Christopher Rizzo of Carter Ledyard & Milburn. “The review processes required by these laws will take a minimum of one year and probably two years.
“There is no legal way for the city to issue approvals for the stadium that would allow construction to begin in early 2024 for summer 2024 use.”
The letter, which is signed by such organizations as BCEQ, Broadway Community Alliance, Riverdale/Spuyten Duyvil/Kingsbridge/Inwood Views, Northwest Bronx Indivisible, Riverdale Main Streets Alliance and the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance as well as many others, gives reasons for their opposition and steps officials have to take before any deal is signed.
“We, the undersigned, individual community members or park users; or neighborhood, community, environmental advocates, or park groups/organizations, are against the extended, exclusive use of parkland in Van Cortlandt Park for private, commercial purposes,” the letter states.
“We are also surprised that the proposal has thus far excluded community involvement, and that the timeline is so short — allowing less than six months for laws and procedures, which usually take one to two years. Said legislative and other regulatory processes must be completed before any municipality can make such a drastic change to the use of public parkland.”
The letter also includes a list of those review processes that the signatories believe should be taken before anything is done:
• Permission to change the park’s use: State law requires specific legislation for alienation of parkland to protect the public trust interest.
• Environmental review: An environmental assessment and potential full environmental impact statement on traffic, transportation, air, water use and waste, sanitation, among other issues.
• Local public land use law compliance: The uniform land use review procedure of city-owned land is required.
• Equitable treatment for Van Cortlandt Park: Under current city policy, private park use fees from rentals and contractual agreements go to New York City’s general fund.
There is currently no clear plan for ensuring that the park stands to benefit by hosting the T20 tournament, according to the letter.
Mayor Adams’ office has continued not to respond for a comment regarding the proposed Van Cortlandt Park stadium project.
The proposed event would occur in June 2024, with construction starting in January. However, with all the criticisms from local elected and community members, the United States, as a host for the event, has a lot of hurdles to get over.
According to the ABP News Bureau, the event could be shifted to England if the U.S. cannot come up with proper infrastructure in time.