By Jeremy Walsh
“Citi Field will be the most environmentally friendly park ever,” Bloomberg said at a news conference in Shea Stadium's Diamond Club last Thursday. “Flushing Meadows Corona Park was where people came in 1939 and 1964 to see the future, and now they will again.”Bloomberg also praised the nearby Willets Point redevelopment project, saying the two developments would result in the city's first “truly green community” in an area “held back by a century of blight and neglect.”Citi Field's green features include a majority of recycled steel in its structure, waterless urinals in bathrooms and a green roof.The $800 million ballpark is slated to open at the beginning of the 2009 baseball season.”It's a little expensive sometimes, but the Mets delivered,” said Marshall of green building practices. She hailed the borough's other green building efforts, including the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing.Some 95 percent of the 12,500 tons of structural steel used in the stadium is recycled, a process that consumes less energy than refining steel from scratch.The Mets' 15,000-square-foot administration building will feature a green roof with live vegetation, which will insulate the building from heat in the summer and cold in the winter.The 414 hands-free faucets, 635 automated flushing toilets and 270 waterless urinals are expected to save more than 4 million gallons of water a year.Though they may be pricier than their conventional counterparts, Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon said the new green features will not affect ticket prices, noting features like the waterless urinals will save the organization money in the long run.Alan Steinberg, director of the Environmental Protection Agency's Region 2, praised the park for harkening back to his favorite baseball team – the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers – with a rotunda named for Jackie Robinson.”We talk a lot in our agency about historic preservation,” he said. “This is historic resurrection.”Steinberg also hailed the environmental features of the park.”Citi Field will stand as a model to other sports organizations,” he said.Officials also lauded the organization's commitment to mass transit. Wilpon said the number of parking spaces at Citi Field will be the same as for Shea, but the stadium will have 15,000 fewer seats. Additionally, he said, the number of fans riding the No. 7 train increased by 32 percent last year, while the number of fans taking the LIRR has doubled since 2005.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.