Exactly how much space the proposed $300 million MLS stadium in Queens would take up has been a confusing one for a while now, with the amount of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park land required wavering between 8 and 12 acres. Now, according to the Queens Times Ledger, a NewsCorp-owned community newspaper chain, the actual impact could be a lot more than that:
The internal plans, which appear to be a proposal from September 2012, were provided to the TimesLedger on condition that the source not be identified. In several renderings, the plans show that the stadium does not sit at ground level, but will rather be perched on top of a mound of earth that the league calls a “publicly accessible berm.”
Opponents of the park believe this berm is needed to build the foundation of the stadium, since the water table is so high in the park. Flushing Meadows sits in a flood plane, which would make it costly to dig downward.
That all makes sense, since the site is a former salt marsh that’s barely above sea level. (Which isn’t exactly the same as a flood plain, let alone a “flood plane,” but we’ll cut the Murdoch news empire some slack, since clearly they have better things to do with their money than pay copy editors or fact checkers.) What it would mean, though, would be that a good bit of the surrounding parkland could end up being a giant hill, which would be not so useful for the soccer fields that are supposed to be shifted from the stadium site to just next to it. (Though it could make for a nice sledding hill, I suppose.)
MLS told the paper that the berm plan may not be the current plan, but otherwise wouldn’t comment on the report, other than to say that the top of the stadium wouldn’t be taller than the nearby Unisphere. (Which is 140 feet, if you were wondering.) Still, this is only going to heighten — no pun intended — concerns by park advocates about how much public recreational space would be handed over to MLS, and how it would be replaced.
Less concerned, meanwhile, are the city’s construction, hotel, and service employee unions, who all endorsed the stadium plan yesterday, because it would create a million billion jobs. Or actually about 3,000 jobs, all but 160 of which would be short-term or part-time (very part-time, since MLS only plays 17 home games a year). But it’s long established that these unions would build over their own grandmother if it meant a chance at even a handful of jobs, so this is no surprise, though it does mean that we can now expect the usual crowd of guys in hardhats at the inevitable city council hearings.