ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two proposals have been introduced as part of the revitalization of Belmont Park on Long Island.
As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, the two plans are similar. One is from the New York Islanders and includes building a stadium along with retail space, a hotel, and an innovation center that residents would develop.
The second is from New York City Football Club, and calls for a stadium and retail space in addition to a community park.
Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages, who represents the area, said residents are not happy about either proposal.
“We are very apprehensive about sports fans coming to our neighborhoods, park in our streets, and litter and do other activities that we don’t want to have in front of our children,” she told WCBS 880. “We’re looking for sustainable, high-tech industries and bring jobs — good paying jobs — not hot dogs and hamburgers.”
Residents are split over the proposed plans.
“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.
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 our 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.
No timeline has been given for the Empire State Development to make its decision. Meanwhile, the Islanders have until January to opt out of the Barclays Center. The team’s owner says there’s no Plan B beyond Belmont.