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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.


Iam sure the numbers might change but chances are that there isnt much exercise going on the 6 acres of sitting water. Well at least city hall isnt giving up city hall to build this thing like in El Paso.

Posted by steven on July 30, 2012 04:14 PM

The pool is less of an issue than the parkland around it. There's no way on earth you can build a soccer stadium on anything close to six acres - the one in New Jersey is more than twice that.

Posted by Neil deMause on July 30, 2012 04:24 PM

Those soccer fields in Flushing Meadows are in constant use every weekend, from sun up to sun down. It is a big place for adult leagues, and Queens has many immigrants who love the game. Where are these park teams going to play? Even if the stadium brings pro soccer to Queens, I bet those guys won't be happy about it. And in New York, the city will have to replace that parkland. Where can that possibly happen? Everything's taken. Why do you think they're trying to take parkland? If they build on this spot, there won't be much open space left for ball fields in Flushing Meadows, that's for sure. It's just another land grab, and I doubt it will happen. But you never know. In the age of Bloomberg, business comes first. The local City Council member is not smart, either, so she might sell-out her constituents.

Posted by brooklynjames on July 30, 2012 05:03 PM

There's nothing wrong with Red Bull Stadium in Harrison - in fact, they did everything right. I would hate to see New York's soccer fan base divided just so some Queens politicians can put feathers in their caps. If Citi Field taught us anything, it was that Flushing Stadiums are corporate whores who couldn't care less about the fans or the game experience. Let's not repeat THAT mistake. I'll take the train to Harrison, thank you.

Posted by Thom Simmons on July 30, 2012 06:20 PM

Can't they just play soccer across the park at City Field? Or is that stadium too old? Whatever damage it does to the outfield grass would be cheaper to deal with than a new stadium and yet-to-be-specified new parkland.

Posted by Art Vandelay on July 31, 2012 04:15 PM

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