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September 17, 2012

In the Boroughs: Biz eyes kick from soccer

But park advocates wary of Flushing Meadows stadium.

Crain's NY Business
by Amanda Fung

New York City has green space out the wazoo, right? But what we don't have enough of is publicly subsidized sports stadiums.

The prospect of a big new soccer venue coming to Queens' largest park—the site of two World's Fairs—is winning the thumbs-up from everyone from soccer fans and local business owners to community and elected officials. But already, park advocates are up in arms over the possible loss of public space for yet another sports stadium. Nearby, the U.S. Tennis Association took 42 acres out of circulation for its three stadiums, the last of which was completed in 1997. At this point, however, it looks as though soccer's supporters have the upper hand.

"The stadium will create jobs and bring money to the shops and restaurants in the area," said Assemblyman Francisco Moya, a soccer fanatic who learned how to play at Flushing Meadows with his friends as a kid, and is today actively involved in negotiations to bring the stadium to the park. "It's a win-win for Queens. Rarely does a project come along that is beneficial to the local community and city."

He got that last part right, at least.

"They need to find a home for the stadium that does not displace valuable parkland," said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates. "We have seen many acres of park taken away for commercial purposes."

"I believe Major League Soccer intends to do the right thing when it comes to parkland," said Mr. Moya. "I am optimistic."

Not to mention a fool.


Posted by eric at September 17, 2012 11:51 AM