Judge dismisses suit to stop new Yankees park

NEW YORK -- A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to
stop construction of the new $1 billion ballpark for the
New York Yankees.

Construction of the stadium involves paving over large portions
of two parks in the Bronx and cutting down about 400 mature oak
trees. The Yankees are to offset the loss of the parks by building
new parkland, including three ballfields at the site of the current
Yankee Stadium, which will be dismantled.

A group of South Bronx neighbors and parks advocates filed a
federal lawsuit in September protesting the loss of the parks,
after first filing a suit in state court seeking a restraining
order that was dismissed.

U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald dismissed the
second lawsuit late Wednesday based on lack of merit.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new park, which will sit
next to the site of the existing Yankee Stadium, was held in
August. The 53,000-seat stadium is scheduled to open in 2009.

Telephone calls to Save Our Parks and the Bronx Council for
Environmental Quality, two plaintiffs listed in the suit, were not
immediately returned Thursday. The groups have the right to appeal
the ruling

Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Parks Advocates, has
said the Yankees were never required to consider practical
alternatives to the taking of parkland.

The city and state will kick in more than $200 million for the
stadium project. The team will pay the rest, financed through
taxable and tax-exempt bonds.

The Yankees' current home was built in 1923 and renovated in the