As many news sources had reported in the past, Roberto Clemente’s dream of a Sports City for the children of Puerto Rico had been shattered by the total neglect and terrible conditions of the complex. The property had been falling into disarray for several years and made worse when Puerto Rico was hit by several hurricanes, the worst being Hurricane Maria.
As a result, there had been much discussion about the future of the complex and the ability of the Clemente family to continue to oversee and administer Roberto Clemente’s dream. As a result the Puerto Rico Senate voted last week to reclaim the property. The following article which appeared in yesterday’s Nuevo Dia explains the latest of this saga.
(The following article was edited and translated from Puerto Rico’s daily, El Nuevo Dia)
Calling Roberto Clemente’s legacy a “robbery” by the government of Puerto Rico, one of the sons of the legendary Puerto Rican baseball player reacted strongly to the measure approved by the Senate last week in which the Roberto Clemente Sports City’s land is transferred to the Department of Recreation and Sports.
The approved House Bill 489 provides that the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority be the entity in charge of planning and organizing the Ciudad Deportiva, of what would become the Roberto Clemente Sports District.
The measure orders the reversal of the 1973 law that ordered the transfer of the Ciudad Deportiva land to the non-profit entity Ciudad Deportiva Roberto Clemente, Inc. to develop it.
Luis Roberto Clemente, the second son of the late Puerto Rican baseball player, thundered against the measure in a video posted Monday on his Facebook account.
“It is a robbery that the government wants to do against the legacy of Roberto Clemente. I have evidence that we will present of a scheme that will shed a lot of light on what the purpose is for taking our lands,” said Luis Roberto in the video that lasts about 12 minutes.
“I am backed by a lot of hard evidence of all the achievements that they say were not made.”
The law orders the creation of the Roberto Clemente Sports District, “as a sports and recreational facility for the enjoyment of Puerto Ricans and sports tourism”, leaving the Convention Center Authority as “in charge of the planning and organization of the District”, including its “development, reconstruction and construction of facilities for its proper functioning.”
The land, located in the municipality of Carolina, has been totally abandoned for years, as have the facilities found there.
Luis Roberto insisted that his family is the legitimate owner of the brand and announced that they will not sit idly by since the land does not belong to the Puerto Rican government.
The measure approved last Thursday also establishes that the leasing and subletting of land will be allowed, as well as the granting of surface rights over facilities, buildings and structures of the Roberto Clemente Sports District to third parties, according to the laws and regulations that apply, but the property “may not be alienated or sold.”
“Now they intend to take away our lands because supposedly nothing was done, we still have the company that is interested in investing $2 million in those lands to start with. We have the expertise in these lands”, reacted Luis Roberto.
“The government of Puerto Rico decided to betray our legacy. Very well. We will not sit idly by. This is just beginning”, said Luis Roberto before ending the video.
Clemente, considered the best Latin American baseball player in the history of the Major Leagues, had a dream to create the Sports City for the enjoyment of Puerto Rican youth, especially those with low economic resources.
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