Here we go again, just 5 years after a plan for a shopping mall in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was rejected by state legislators there are now plans for a casino, stores, restaurants, and a hotel.
The owners of the Mets claim they don’t need all the Citi Field parking spaces and their plan would be a big boost to the borough and local communities by providing jobs and entertainment all year round.
First of all, this makes bad business sense. When there are Mets games or large concerts at Citi Field all the highways and local roads are congested. Will people want to sit in traffic to go to a casino/hotel/ restaurant? I don’t think so.
Citi Field’s parking lot is also used for many events such as the Big Apple Circus and community events with rides and games.
It may be true that the Mets don’t need all of the parking lot for baseball games. Why? because there are so many other places people can park cars within and outside the park.
Besides Citi Field, there is parking at Flushing Promenade, Swimming/Skating Center, Queens Museum, Meadow Lake, under the Van Wyck Expressway and other areas throughout the park. Also many people park in the local neighborhoods to avoid the high parking fees.
Whenever there are big events in the park like the US Open, cars, vans and emergency vehicles are parked everywhere including on the grass creating a major problem for people wanting to use the park.
Imagine if this was Central Park or Prospect Park and someone wanted a casino/restaurant/hotel. They would be laughed out of the city. Also, both parks public lack parking in the park. Not too many years ago park advocates fought a plan to make a Formula 1 racetrack around Meadow Lake, that thankfully we won.
Five years ago, the City Council approved the shopping mall, and it was only a small number of park advocates that stopped the mall in the courts. Will our political leaders stand for the people who need this park now and in the future? or will they be swayed by the promise of economic rewards?
If the parking is not needed the Parks Dept. should plant trees and greenery in some places in the lot to help stop flooding and help reduce the amount of runoff entering Flushing Bay. This would also help absorb air pollution from all the surrounding highways and La Guardia Airport.
There is only so much land encompassing Flushing Mead- ows-Corona Park. With the development of Willets Point that includes residential housing, schools and stores and the building of high rises in Downtown Flushing and along Flushing Creek there will be a big increase in population. People are going to need space for recreation and to enjoy the many attractions in the park. There are many shopping malls, hotels, casinos, etc. but only one Flushing Meadows Park. Contact your politicians and tell them you oppose commercial developments at Citi Field.