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Letter: Housing is the key at Willets Point

Willets Point now and a rendering of plans

Willets Point now and a rendering of plans for it. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert / NYEDC

Everyone agrees that the Willets Point section of Queens is a disaster area in the shadow of a fairly new stadium ["Play ball at Willets Point," Editorial, Oct. 11].

But let's not equivocate; the battle lines are pretty clear. The developers want more shopping and less housing, while community advocates and politicians want more housing and less shopping.

Lower- and middle-class residents in Willets Point are not going to travel past Citi Field to shop at upscale boutiques and businesses. They are barely able to afford tickets to Mets games.

The question is, what if there aren't enough customers for those upscale boutiques and businesses? And what happens if there are not enough upscale vendors who want to populate a shopping mall next to a stadium that is closed all winter? Does it become a ghost town, or will the developers ultimately fill the retail space with moderately priced merchants?

Ideally, the developers should negotiate a fair number of housing units that satisfies the city, in return for eminent domain rights to steamroll the junkyards and auto parts stores.

Jeffrey Cohen, Flushing