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Meeting set on Cosmos' stadium proposal

This is an artist's rendering of the proposed

This is an artist's rendering of the proposed New York Cosmos soccer stadium at Belmont Park in Elmont. It was provided by the Spector Group on Jan. 16, 2013. Credit: AP

The Elmont Union Free and Floral Park-Bellerose school districts will hold a public meeting next month on plans by the New York Cosmos to build a 25,000-seat soccer stadium, 175-room hotel and retail complex at Belmont Park.

The two school districts have endorsed the Cosmos plan, but the Empire State Development Corp. has yet to decide on four private sector proposals -- first submitted to the agency in February 2013 -- to develop the 36-acre, state-owned property in Elmont.

"We have waited long enough," said Elmont school board president Michael Jaime, who argues that the project would bring in new jobs and revitalize the local economy. "The political debate about this project has gone on too long."

The forum will be at 7 p.m. on May 7, at Sewanhaka Central High School, 500 Tulip Ave., in Floral Park.

Cosmos officials will answer questions from the public, along with area real estate agents who will discuss the plan's effect on real estate values.

Erik Stover, chief operating officer of the Cosmos, said last month that the state's delays have forced the team to consider other sites in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester and New Jersey. He declined to identify them.

Empire State Development Corp. officials said they are finalizing their decision.

Floral Park-Bellerose school board president Laura Ferone said the public forum will be a "positive outlet to educate, organize and send a message" to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Three other bidders have proposed privately funded retail and recreation complexes that would include retail, restaurants, a supermarket and community space.

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