Questionable Projects Promoted for Stimulus Funding in New York

April 2, 2009

Atlantic Yards

The New York State

Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet

has compiled

a list

of projects submitted by municipalities, organizations and individuals for possible funding under the

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

While a project’s inclusion on the list does not, according to the cabinet, imply

“acceptance, validation or certification of any project,”

it does mean the projects may be up for consideration.

At least two of the New York City projects that appear on the list are eyebrow raising, and they demonstrate the importance of

keeping millions of eyeballs on the Recovery Act

: Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, and a “South Bronx Development Initiative.”

The controversial Atlantic Yards project has already received hundreds of millions in taxpayer subsidies, and its developer, Forest City Ratner, claimed last year that the project

needs more

. The news that Forest City Ratner

would likely seek ARRA funds

broke in February, and prompted an

on-line petition

with almost 3,000 signatories who feel that “Any allocation of stimulus to Atlantic Yards at this point would not only further reduce the project's already unacceptable standard of accountability, it would deprive the people of New York City investment in urgently needed public works.”

The “South Bronx Development Initiative” is a new proposal, but its priority is clearly not to serve existing local residents, considering that its major features include film studios, 4-star hotels, and luxury condos. The project also includes a shuttle to the train station near the controversial new

Yankee Stadium


While most of the projects have a requested dollar amount associated with them, these two are among the few where the listed amount is zero. It is unclear whether this means those who submitted the projects have not yet finalized an amount they want to request, that they simply are not disclosing any amount at the present time, or something else. Further complicating matters is that it is unknown who submitted these projects to the state. On his

Atlantic Yards Report,

Norman Oder


he was told that a “citizen” submitted the Atlantic Yards project and that it was


an official request.

Despite this uncertainty, one thing is for sure. States are starting to compile lists and it’s up to all concerned residents and taxpayers to check them twice.