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July 30, 2012
Queens pols: Demolishing parkland to build MLS stadium would be great for kids' health!
The plan for an MLS stadium in New York's Flushing Meadows-Corona Park looks to be getting some legs — at least four of them, the ones belonging to Queens state assemblymember Francisco Moya and councilmember Karen Koslowitz, who have an op-ed in today's Daily News touting the virtues of such a plan.
The pair call the public park a "prime location" for a soccer stadium (no argument there), which they say would "benefit the people of Queens, both financially and culturally." On the financial front, the officials tout the "2,000 and 2,200 good-paying construction jobs [and] tens of millions of dollars" injected into the local economy, while noting that "MLS reported that a similar soccer-complex in Kansas City will have a $500 million annual economic impact." (This was presumably one of those "add up every dollar spent in town on soccer, assume it's new spending, and apply an arbitrary multiplier" reports, though I can't tell at the moment since MLS took down its report since I wrote about this two years ago.) They also write that Queens residents should "consider the increased emphasis on healthy alternatives for children and the improved focus on after school recreational opportunities" if MLS builds new soccer fields ... to replace the ones they'd be destroying to build their stadium.
There's still no formal plan released, nor any word from the elected officials who actually matter (Mayor Michael Bloomberg, council speaker Christine Quinn, or assembly speaker Sheldon Silver). But it looks like MLS has at least gotten some local allies on its side, which is an important first step.