Community joins Nassau legislator in advocating for family friendly development at Belmont Park
Group fears mega soccer stadium will damage Elmont’s quality of life
Elmont, May 20, 2013.Nassau County Legislator Carrie' Solages (D-Elmont, 3rdDistrict) was joined by community residents and civic leaders in Elmont on Sunday, May 19, 2013, in appealing to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to shelve plans to create a mega soccer stadium on the grounds of Belmont Park in Elmont that would harm the quality of life for thousands of hardworking Elmont families seeking to protect and strengthen their quality of life.
Legislator Solages warned, “In an era when Big Sports is about big profits and lucrative franchise deals, Elmont seeks something other than being the gateway to a mega soccer stadium. The public relations blitz currently assaulting our neighborhoods touting the alleged benefits of a stadium fail to acknowledge the realitythat Elmont would receive minimal benefits from this kind of sports arena. A mega stadium wouldneither strengthen our real estate values nor generate neighborhood economic growth in Elmont. A mega stadium would, however, generate enormous profits for the absentee investors who would enjoy millions in profits from such a complex.”
The Nassau County lawmaker says many in the community are seeking alternative proposals that call for a supermarket, retail shopping, a public park that includes a soccer field, and other amenities.The lawmaker reminded these alternatives are far more beneficial to residents of the community. “If we have retail stores, a supermarket and a community center, such as the competing proposal offers, then we would gain more of the management level jobs with wages that could sustain a family on Long Island, as well as the recreational/community center that our community has been waiting for a long time.”
Examining the mega stadium project reveals its flaws. Mr. Solages further noted, “I have asked the stadium group to show me how their project would not adversely impact property values, traffic, and safety and they could not answer my question. When doing a cost/benefit analysis, it is evident that the cost to the community is high whereas the supposed benefit to the community is a few management level jobs coupled with lots of low paying jobs cleaning the stadium.”
He also cautioned that the loss of the New York Islanders, a top tier professional hockey team from Nassau Coliseum, foreshadows the future of a new soccer stadium in Elmont. Solages asks, “The loss of the Islanders begs the question how the NY Cosmos, a second-rate team, could survive at this location especially as there is already talk of building a competing stadium in nearby Queens. Furthermore, Elmont is not Brooklyn so any comparison to the new Barclays Center is not accurate. Brooklyn has a vigorous mass transit system to support that stadium.”
Solages further observed, “I found it disturbing but insightful to see the reaction of the Cosmos team executives when I asked them to invest in the local LIRR stop in order to make a year-round full service train station and they said that they were not interested. This is simply not acceptable.”
The lawmaker says Elmont will not be intimidated by the bully tactics now being brought to bear by the mega soccer development team on residents opposed to their plan. In addition, the community group will be asking the Governor’s office to look closely at the actions of some proponents of the stadium who are seeking to shut down grassroots opposition.
Legislator Solages concluded,“In the weeks to come, we intend to voice the concerns of the community and look past the glib public relations campaign for a mega stadium that replaces hope with hype."