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Elmont Community Leaders Seeking To Block New Soccer Stadium

Local Leaders Say Stadium Won't Spur Economic Growth; Proponents Disagree
The New York Cosmos hope to build a privately financed 25,000-seat stadium in the shadow of Belmont Racetrack. (Photo: Handout)

The New York Cosmos hope to build a privately financed 25,000-seat stadium in the shadow of Belmont Racetrack. (Photo: Handout)

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ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)A plan to bring a 25,000-seat soccer stadium to Long Island’s Belmont Park is drawing loud opposition from leaders in the surrounding community.

Some Elmont residents have complained that the seasonal soccer stadium proposed for Belmont Park wouldn’t do much to help the community.

“No one is going to essentially leave a soccer match and halftime and go to the local eatery or something like that and have a hot dog and a meal and come back to the rest of the game,” community activist Aubrey Phillips told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.

He and other leaders are instead lobbying for housing to attract young professionals to the area, as well as year-round business that has economic reach into Elmont.

“We don’t believe that this stadium will have a positive effect on the local economy,” said Phillips. “Why not do something that would, in fact, enhance all of Elmont rather than just this narrow strip.”

The stadium would be the home of the recently revived New York Cosmos. The proposed site is currently a parking lot and would be developed with private funding, if approved.

Proponents say the Elmont stadium would be just what Long Island needs to generate jobs and tax revenue.

“The whole idea of taking a weed-infested parking lot and replacing that with a state-of-the-art $400 million stadium, I think, just makes all the sense in the world,” state Sen. Jack Martins (R-7th District) said last month.

The Empire State Development Corp. is evaluating competing bids and will then make its decision.

Cosmos officials said the development would not require taxpayer dollars.

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