Hundreds of neighbors turned out for a town hall meeting in Corona Monday to voice concerns over redevelopment plans for Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Neighbors are worried that the potential plan to build a soccer stadium in the park — as well as another plan to replace and expand the facility for the United States Tennis Association — would take away public park land.
“Many folks are saying, we don’t want to only watch soccer, we don’t only want to watch professional athletes play soccer — we also want our families to actually use the park to play soccer,” said Theo Oshiro of the community group Make the Road New York.
“We’re really upset right now that the city’s taking away our space without even asking or letting us know what they’ll do,” said Maria Alvarez [member of Make the Road New York] of Corona.
Major League Soccer says their proposal would replace any park land taken away, as mandated by state policy and federal law.
Sources also said the existing community soccer fields would be replaced and upgraded as part of the deal.
As for another project that has residents upset — plans to build a mall and another development just outside the park — the city says it would create more than 7,000 permanent jobs and 12,000 construction jobs. The plan was approved by the City Council years ago, in 2008.
“I’m hoping that we can find a middle ground and something that’s beneficial to the community, because at the end of the day, it is their park — they’re going to have to deal with the traffic, they’re going to have to deal with the impasse,” said councilwoman Julissa Ferreras of Queens.
City Council gets the final say, and is expected to vote on the first part of the plan next spring. If approved, construction could begin as soon as next summer.
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