Queens groups push back on plans for neighborhood sports arenas, mall

A coalition of community groups is trying to block the Bloomberg administration’s plans to bring two professional sports arenas and a one million-square-foot mall to the area surrounding Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Six groups, including Make the Road New York, have won the support of local City Council member Julissa Ferreras in their efforts to hold up necessary approvals for the projects on the basis that the city is taking away open space without accounting for whether the neighborhood could support the significant increases in traffic and population the projects would bring. The community is also concerned the mall would drive out smaller local business.

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“I have an obligation to make sure that our community gets a voice in the process…The community needs to decide if these three different proposals are a good use of parkland,” Ferreras said.

The coalition’s concerns could stall the project or force concessions from the city, which is not keen to delay its efforts.

“In all of our conversations with Queens community groups, we hear the same message consistently: the borough needs more jobs and economic activity. These projects would meet that need in spectacular fashion and provide employment to thousands of Queens residents,” said Julie Wood, a spokesperson for the city. [WSJ] Katherine Clarke

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