Will Two Queens Soccer Stadiums Get Kicked to the Curb?
Daniel Edward Rosen Sept. 13, 2012, 1:55 p.m.
Plans to bring two pro sports stadiums and a 1 million square foot shopping mall to Queens are getting it in the ear from local community groups and politicians.
The two stadiums, which if realized will be built in separate locations near Flushing Meadows Corona Park, are being planned without considering the great impacts of foot and car traffic both developments will bring to an already congested part of Queens, critics of the developments tell The Wall Street Journal.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans include an 8,000-seat U.S. Tennis Association stadium and a 25,000-seat Major League Soccer Stadium. The new shopping mall could be located in Willets Point, directly across from Citi Field.
That development is now backed by both Related Cos. and Sterling Equities and is expected to face an environmental review later this month (the USTA is slated to undergo a similar review later this Fall).
The MLS will need to reach a deal with the City Council before it gets to that point.
But the City Council may be a tough crowd, as The Wall Street Journal reports:
Council Member Julissa Ferreras, who represents the area, echoed concerns about the temporary loss of community soccer fields during construction, reduced access to the park, increased traffic, pollution, noise, safety, litter and the impact of the mall on mom-and-pops.
“I have an obligation to make sure that our community gets a voice in the process…The community needs to decide if these three different proposals are a good use of parkland,” Ms. Ferreras said.
Perhaps to curry favor with local politicians, the MLS has offered to spruce up public soccer fields to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens’ largest park, among other proposed improvements.