ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Is the Nassau County-Queens border a good fit for a new soccer stadium?
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the New York Cosmos practice on Long Island turf, but they want a permanent home — a stadium.READ MORE: Remote Option Returning To NYC Schools As Omicron Continues To Fuel Nationwide Spike In COVID Cases
Yet, two years after rolling out a plan, the soccer club is still in limbo.
“We do stay positive and optimistic, and hopefully a decision will come soon,” said Eric Stover, the Cosmos’ chief operating officer.
The team envisions a privately funded 25,000-seat soccer stadium, retail shopping, restaurants, a hotel and community parks, replacing vacant lots and a blighted strip with shoppers, tax revenue and 3,000 jobs.
Some Elmont residents are not rooting for the plan.
“It’s rubbish,” said Tyra Onwuchekwa, of Elmont. “It’s nonsense. … We don’t want our children doing minimum wage jobs.”
Others fear mega-development in the shadow of the Belmont racetrack will clog streets and only benefit outsiders — the racetrack, politicians and the Cosmos.READ MORE: Driver Charged After 15-Year-Old Girl Struck, Killed By School Bus In Brooklyn Hit-And-Run
Team officials will field questions at a public forum Thursday night at Sewanhaka High School. They believe they can transform 32 acres of empty asphalt and in turn a struggling community.
“It very rarely gets as good as this — no taxpayer money,” Stover said.
Said Michael Jaime, Elmont School Board president: “In my mind, it’s more than a stadium; it’s the spur of economic development.”
Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages doubts interest in soccer can sustain a stadium there.
“All reputable studies about stadiums show that it is not a promising economic return for communities,” he said.
The clock is ticking as the team considers alternate sites.MORE NEWS: Yonkers Police Officer Injured After Altercation With Armed Suspect
The fate of the state-owned land is in the hands of the Empire State Development Corp., which is still kicking around proposals with no signs of a winner.