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State senators propose ideas for Belmont Park

A view over Belmont Park in Elmont is

A view over Belmont Park in Elmont is shown on May 30, 2015. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

A bipartisan group of state senators from Nassau and Queens pressed their vision for the redevelopment of Belmont Park Wednesday with a state business development agency.

In a letter to Howard Zemsky, commissioner of Empire State Development, Sens. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill), and Leroy Comrie (D-Queens), argued for a full-time Long Island Rail Road station at Belmont and “well paying” jobs that would attract “vibrant young professionals” to live in the community.

The lawmakers also sought construction of environmentally friendly educational and recreational facilities and a plan to manage increased traffic on local roads and on the Cross Island Parkway.

“It is imperative that both the state and all potential bidders understand that our support for any project will depend on whether, and to what extent, developers welcome and act upon community input,” the letter said.

“The greater Belmont area is comprised of middle-class families who care deeply about their communities, have well-developed ideas as to what will improve them and do not wish to be dictated to,” the senators wrote.

Empire State Development spokeswoman Amy Varghese said the agency will review the letter as it prepares a request for proposals to develop state-run Belmont Park.

“Development at Belmont will be an economic boost to the region and all improvements to the site will occur through the normal RFP process,” Varghese said.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman disclosed last week that the New York Islanders, who play at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, plan to submit a bid on the property.

The lawmakers’ letter made no mention of an arena for the Islanders. But in a statement, Kaminsky and Phillips said the letter “applies to all projects including any arenas or other type of development.”

The Islanders are nearing a deadline with Barclays officials to open a renegotiation period of their 25-year license agreement that must occur before either side can opt in January.

Last year, ESD scrapped proposals to redevelop Belmont, including a 25,000-seat soccer stadium for the New York Cosmos.

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