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MLS nearing accord for Queens stadium

A basketball game proceeds in front of the pool where Major League Soccer wants to put a 25,000 capacity stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber hinted Monday that the league and the city have nearly hammered out a broad agreement for a 25,000-capacity stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen to finalize our agreement with New York City over our use of the land and our ability to lease that land to build a stadium,” Garber said. “I do believe that we will resolve that shortly. I can’t put any timetable on that, but we are at the finish line.”

The soccer bigwig told the Associated Press that a new team could be playing in Queens by the start of the 2016 season, but the stadium is not a done deal.

An agreement would act more like a broad framework to guide further action, ensuring both the city and the league understand each others’ terms before beginning the formal approval process.

That process includes the city and state signing off on the lease and giving the 10 acres of parkland for the stadium, according to AP.

The league would also need to negotiate the location of replacement parkland and forge an agreement with the New York Mets over the use of their parking lot at nearby Citi Field, the AP reported.

“We need to reach an agreement with the city, with the local community and with the state of New York on replacing the land that we will be utilizing for the stadium,” Garber said.

MLS is set to take its proposal to Borough President Helen Marshall next week and is also planning a town hall-style meeting to discuss improvements it will make to Flushing Meadows.

But to some civic groups in the borough, the league’s plans hardly represent an improvement.

The Fairness Coalition of Queens is an umbrella organization of nonprofits that opposes the displacement of public parkland for the use of private developers.

Its leaders contend that the MLS project also needs to be considered in light of other developments, including the construction of a million-square-foot mall on parkland leased to the Mets for a parking lot. The United States Tennis Center is also planning to expand the borders of its Billie Jean King National Tennis Center into the park by less than an acre.

Elected officials seem to be largely in favor of the plan, with state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and state Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) emerging as two vocal supporters.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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Reader Feedback

Rob from Rego Park says:
Soccer is gaining tremendous popularity in the US. Flushing Meadows Park is a magnet for local soccer teams. The fan base will be huge. It will bring revenue to Queens. I can't wait to take my kids to watch games so conveniently close to home!
Nov. 28, 2012, 1:54 am
Mike from Flushing says:
Soccer is popular, so is public parkland for the people, taking open space in the middle of a park for this purpose is not a smart move. Queens has plenty of malls, build the stadium in the parking lot instead of a mall. The parking and access roads are there. Have MLS put funds toward refreshing the Pool of Industry, restore a fountain! NYC is already restoring 4 of the 7 soccer fields so the promise from MLS to restore the filed is half baked. They say only 10 acres for the stadium, but there will be parking needed for the support services and enlarged access roads in the park to make deliveries. The replacement land being considered is a toxic dump along the Flushing River behind Willets Point, may not be accessible as park land for years if ever. These projects sound like its padding a few pockets and not really considering the community. They are not making smart decisions, I hope the state squashes the plans and they rethink it and can bring MLS to the fans not at the expense of others.
Nov. 28, 2012, 6:11 am
James from Bayside says:
http://queens-politics.com/2012/11/mls-land-grab-deal-has-community-leader-up-in-arms-al/

What he said
Nov. 28, 2012, 9:03 pm
Anonymous from USA says:
Well, I think the people need to understand the good this will do their borough. If rumors about the Cosmos being the team to occupy that stadium are true, think of the tourism this will bring to Queens. Also expect the stars the Cosmos name can attract (i.e. Ronaldo, Messi, Rooney, and not to mention a possible Brazilian like Kaka). This will also create jobs during its construction, and also create permanent jobs once the stadium is built and a team is named.
Nov. 29, 2012, 4:24 am
Mike from Flushing says:
Soccer Stadium fine for Queens, just not in the park taking land from the people for private enterprise. A plan that will pad the pockets of corporations and politicians, thats the bottom line.
Nov. 29, 2012, 6:46 am

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