Members of the Elmont community joined Nassau County Legis. Carrié Solages outside Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s regional office in Hicksville on Sunday to protest a proposed 25,000-seat soccer stadium at Belmont Park.
The New York Cosmos soccer team wants to build a stadium in Elmont, one of four bids submitted in February 2013 for developing the state-owned property.
Solages, surrounded by about a dozen supporters, said the project was conceived without the input of the community, and that New York doesn’t have an appetite for soccer that would fill 25,000 seats. Protesters called on the state to issue a new request for proposals that considers the vision of local residents.
“There is no way a mega soccer stadium is even going to be filled with 25,000 people,” Solages (D-Elmont) said Sunday. “We deserve better. This is about raising the standard of a community.”
Solages said a stadium is likely to be an economic failure, which would be bad for the community. He said Elmont needs affordable housing and better-paying jobs — things protesters said were not addressed in the stadium proposal.
The Cosmos website said construction would create more than 500 jobs, and more than 3,000 full-time permanent jobs. The development would include the stadium, a movie theater, supermarket, hotel, nine restaurants and 300,000 square feet of retail space.
“The Elmont area is in desperate need of economic development,” Cosmos chief executive Erik Stover said in a statement. “Crime is rising, stores are closing and foreclosures continue to plague the community. If approved, our privately-funded project will have a massive economic impact in the area.”
The $400 million Elmont Town Crossings project would be on a parcel south of the Hempstead Turnpike and east of the Cross Island Parkway.
Three other bidders proposed privately funded complexes that would include retail, restaurants, a supermarket and community space.
Stover has said the state has taken so long to make a decision that the team is considering other locations.
Jason Conwall, spokesman for Empire State Development, said in a statement the agency is “re-engaging” bidders to get the best deal for the state. Officials did not provide a timeline for when they would reach a decision.