Rendering of Willets Point. (Mayor's Office)

Rendering of Willets Point. (Mayor's Office) Credit: Rendering of Willets Point. (Mayor's Office)

Finally something is about to happen. City planners have talked for years about redeveloping Willets Point, a polluted wasteland of light industry and auto repair shops on Flushing Bay in Queens. Now the City Council has signed off on a massive plan to transform the area beyond Citi Field's rightfield wall into a lively neighborhood with housing, retail space, a 200-room hotel and an elementary school.

But that's not the best part of this ambitious project. The deal also includes a trade-off with the developers of Willets West Mall on the opposite side of Citi Field, along Roosevelt Avenue. In return for about 32 acres of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the developers will commit $15.5 million to the new Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Alliance -- organized to restore the park's faded luster. If the sale of parkland for a shopping mall makes you uneasy, bear in mind: The city has allowed the Mets to use the land for more than 50 years. Today it's a Citi Field parking lot.

Combined with a similar $10-million swap last summer for an expansion of the U.S. Tennis Center in the park, the deal will give the alliance more than $25 million for repairs and upkeep. That's a tremendous boost for a deteriorating 897-acre treasure that's bigger than Central Park.

The advocacy group New Yorkers for Parks praises the deal as a game-changer. The site of two world's fairs -- in 1939 and 1964 -- Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is an icon not just for the 2.2 million residents of Queens, but for all of New York. Local Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras has earned a shout-out for spearheading the transaction.

As for the resurrection of Willets Point, it's about time.

In 1983 it was supposed to be the site of an 82,000-seat stadium that would bring the New York Jets back from the New Jersey Meadowlands. Later it was going to be the location for the media center in the 2012 Olympics if New York City won its bid. London won out.

This being New York, there will be lawsuits over the plans, mainly from displaced businesses. But we hope -- on behalf of Queens residents and all New Yorkers -- the council's blueprint for the expansive park prevails.

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Zeldin, at RNC, considers future ... Pool safety for adults . . . New adventure park in Westbury

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Zeldin, at RNC, considers future ... Pool safety for adults . . . New adventure park in Westbury

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