THE BRONX - It has been almost 17 months since construction began on the new Yankee Stadium, but $1.2 million promised to improve the community is still sitting in escrow.

The skeleton of the stadium is up and crews are working to open the venue in 2009, but residents complain they haven't been compensated for the construction, traffic and loss of park land.

"They had $275 million to pay A-Rod," says Lamont Bedell. "Where's the money for the community?"

The Yankees organization maintains it has kept up its end of the bargain, saying the money is waiting to be spent. A special panel chosen to decide which Bronx organizations should get the funding has only met once.

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr. says the panel will meet again in March. The committee's chairman promises money will start to be dispersed in the spring.

Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo says the delays should have been anticipated. "What should have been made public, in reality, is the process was gonna take some time."

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