Cosmos Try To Convince Long Island That Stadium Plan Is A Winner
ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Is the Nassau County-Queens border a good fit for a new soccer stadium?
As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, the New York Cosmos practice on Long Island turf, but they want a permanent home -- a stadium.
Yet, two years after rolling out a plan, the soccer club is still in limbo.
"We do stay positive and optimistic, and hopefully a decision will come soon," said Eric Stover, the Cosmos' chief operating officer.
The team envisions a privately funded 25,000-seat soccer stadium, retail shopping, restaurants, a hotel and community parks, replacing vacant lots and a blighted strip with shoppers, tax revenue and 3,000 jobs.
Some Elmont residents are not rooting for the plan.
"It's rubbish," said Tyra Onwuchekwa, of Elmont. "It's nonsense. ... We don't want our children doing minimum wage jobs."
Others fear mega-development in the shadow of the Belmont racetrack will clog streets and only benefit outsiders -- the racetrack, politicians and the Cosmos.
Team officials will field questions at a public forum Thursday night at Sewanhaka High School. They believe they can transform 32 acres of empty asphalt and in turn a struggling community.
"It very rarely gets as good as this -- no taxpayer money," Stover said.
Said Michael Jaime, Elmont School Board president: "In my mind, it's more than a stadium; it's the spur of economic development."
Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages doubts interest in soccer can sustain a stadium there.
"All reputable studies about stadiums show that it is not a promising economic return for communities," he said.
The clock is ticking as the team considers alternate sites.
The fate of the state-owned land is in the hands of the Empire State Development Corp., which is still kicking around proposals with no signs of a winner.
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