A New York soccer team, the Cosmos, wants to develop part of Belmont Park - home of Belmont Racetrack, the final leg of the Triple Crown – into a professional soccer stadium.
A plan sent to the state’s economic development corporation also includes retail, hotel, and public park space. It follows another recent professional soccer stadium proposal, for the nearby Flushing-Meadows Corona Park in Queens.
Kevin Law, with the Long Island Association, points out that the New York Cosmos’ proposal comes on the heels of "losing the New York Islanders to Brooklyn,” he said.
The hockey team will vacate its arena, the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, for new digs at the Brooklyn Barclays Arena in 2015.
Law said the soccer stadium development would provide an economic engine for the region, as well as a destination point in Elmont.
“That’s what they tried doing at the Nassau Coliseum,” he said. “You just don’t want an arena. You want to have some other things for people to do, so they stay, and make it a destination.”
Community activists have said the neighborhood struggles to keep visitors coming back to the park on days other than the annual Belmont Stakes, which happens in June.
The Empire State Development Corporation issued a request for proposals for the Belmont Park site in September. A spokeswoman for the agency said the proposals will be vetted on criteria including feasibility and economic impact, before a decision is made within the next few months.
The Cosmos hope to secure approval for the plan to allow them to break ground on the project sometime next year.