THE BRONX - The city?s Parks Department is being criticized for delaying its promise to replace several parks around the new Yankee Stadium.

When the plan for the stadium was approved, the city pledged to build new parks after Macomb?s Dam Park and a part of John Mullaly Park were destroyed to make way for the construction.

The Parks Department initially said seven of the eight parks will be open by April 2009, and the last one no later than 2010.

But now these plans are put on hold. Officials say the parks will come with a price tag of millions more than previously expected.

On Tuesday, local council members confronted Parks Department officials, demanding answers.

The parks first deputy commissioner defended his department, saying they do not have extensive experience building parks in unusual areas like on top of a parking garage.

Another factor that complicates the project, the deputy says, is that the grounds of the future Heritage Park are contaminated. During the meeting, however, the parks commissioner promised that at least parts of Heritage Park will be open to the public by next year.

Overall, the construction of all the replacement parks around the new stadium is expected to be delayed by about a year.