ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – What does the future hold for the vacant lots at Belmont Park?
More than 200 of its neighbors went to Elmont High School on Sunday to find out what two New York sports teams have in mind. As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, most locals weren’t very happy about what they heard.READ MORE: Juneteenth Celebrations Across New York City Take On New Meaning In 2021
“Like it or not, the residents of this area are getting a stadium, and the congestion is going to be mind boggling,” one man said.
“It’s going to be nightmare,” another person added.
The New York City Football Club, partly owned by the New York Yankees, hopes to transform part of the property north of Hempstead Turnpike into a 26,000 seat open-air stadium for its professional soccer team.
Meanwhile, the New York Islanders want to turn that property into a world class sports and entertainment facility, including an 18,000 seat arena for the professional hockey team.
“I really feel that the arena project is a great opportunity for local residents to bring jobs and economic boost into the community, for the Islanders to have permanent home on Long Island where they belong,” one man said.
The Islanders’ proposal would also include retail, hotels and community centers.READ MORE: Man Allegedly Armed With Taser, Large Knife Arrested At Washington Square Park
The NYCFC is also proposing retail, entertainment and community space.
Residents listening to the plans Sunday had plenty of questions and concerns, but were frustrated when asked to write them down while moderators chose which questions would be asked and answered.
“We should have been given an opportunity not just to listen but to have a healthy conversation,” said one woman. “This is going to affect out homes.”
“The people who make it, the people who sat on the podium — they’re all business people. Who’s it going to help? It’s going to help them, because they’re in business. Everything else is a byproduct,” a man added. “It’s not going to help the residents. We’re not going to see much except a lot of congestion.”
While both proposals promise to bring hundreds of permanent jobs, some residents say they aren’t the kind of opportunities the community needs.
“Real jobs and real wages – not minimum wage jobs, not retail jobs. Kids aren’t looking to go to college to learn how to work in a restaurant. They’re going to college to learn how to get STEM and healthcare jobs,” said another man.
Both proposals have been submitted to Empire State Development, which has not given a deadline for its decision.MORE NEWS: NYPD Detective Injured In 2017 Vehicular Attack Honored At Islanders Game
The Islanders have until January to opt out of the Barclays Center. The team’s owner says there’s no Plan B beyond Belmont.