Following the recent casino license bid from the Mets’ owner Steve Cohen that held the soccer stadium development in the vicinity of the Mets’ Citi Field stadium in Queens, Sen. Jessica Ramos has temporarily blocked the Steve Cohen’s plans for a casino resort development next to the Mets’ ballpark. As New York Post reports, Ramos said she would not use the final week of the legislative session to introduce a bill regarding such commercial venture.
“I had a very productive town hall on Friday which is going to be the first of many conversations I have with my neighbors,” Ramos reportedly said. “My neighbors and I are not currently in a place where it would be appropriate to introduce parkland alienation legislation.”
According to the source, the representative’s statement refers to the fact that the area around the Citi Field has been legally treated as part of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park since 1939. However, Queens assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry introduced legislation in March that would allow billionaire Steve Cohen to redevelop the parking lots around the Citi Field into a casino and entertainment resort. The measure pending for the support from the Senate and Gov. Kathy Hochul has now been opposed by Ramos as the local senator.
Session Opposed Casino Development:
Sen. Jessica Ramos reportedly claims the property designation as inappropriate for the redevelopment sought by Cohen in the very first stage of his plans. As the source reports, Ramos estimated that “65 percent” of the attendees to the session opposed the project of the Mets’ owner. Cohen is currently competing for one of three New York City casino licenses, with legislative session ending in June.
Cohen Promises Public Green Space:
A Cohen’s spokesperson’s statement reportedly reads: “We have been working closely with Senator Ramos from the beginning and her input has been an important part of our approach. We will continue to partner with her and our neighbors in Queens as we incorporate their feedback and have an open dialogue with the community and a transparent process on how best to re-imagine the 50 acres of asphalt around the Citi Field.”
The spokesperson added: “Based on the input we have received across 15 listening sessions, hundreds of meetings and over 20,000 door-to-door conversations, we believe that both the Mets fans and the surrounding community will like what they see when we unveil a vision anchored in new public green space, thousands of new and permanent jobs and entertainment that brings people to the area every single day of the year.”
Casino Development Opponents:
At the same time, people protested against Las Vegas Sands opening a casino at the Nassau Hub in Long Island, but the county legislature is expected to approve the deal for Sands upon the state license approval expected on May 29, 2023, according to New York Post. People at the rally reportedly said that they do not want to have the main Stewart Avenue turned in the equivalent of Las Vegas Strip. The protestants reminded of the historical and cultural legacy of the Nassau county and opposed casino developments.
Three Casino Licenses Pending Approval:
Their example has been followed by Brooklyn’s Community Board which recently approved a resolution opposing the proposal to locate a casino along the Coney Island boardwalk while the top-tier gaming operator, Bally’s, is simultaneously proposing a casino in Bronx. In any case, the State of New York will approve three casino licenses with the associated fees and tax revenues intended for financing of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
It seems that the solution for the clash of legacy with the financial benefit must be sought somewhere in the middle of the opposed interests.