Eleven casino companies are in the race for the three available casino licenses in the downtown New York City. One of the patient runners is Mets owner Steve Cohen, who has recently partnered with the casino and entertainment giant Hard Rock International to offer an $8 billion casino resort development next to Citi Field in Queens. But some local community members are opposed to the proposal that would use the land of the adjacent Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
According to Spectrum News (SN), some residents have raised concerns about the park land and the possible arrival of the casino and the associated content.On the other side, Cohen and Hard Rock argue that the $8 billion investment will reportedly be used to create the Metropolitan Park that will include 25 acres of open public space and community investment. Corona resident Javier Otalora reportedly said: “They can invest in many other ways, but not a casino, though. A casino brings along, it may bring jobs along, but it also brings along other things that we’re not ready for.”
In return, the investment partners announced that the Metropolitan Park would bring around 15 thousand jobs into the area. Michael Sullivan, of Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management reportedly said: “The way this is going to work, the community benefit fund is going to have members of our local community in Queens, so they can advise us on what the important priorities of the community are. I think those priorities shift over time.”
Billion Development Proposal:
SN reports that Point72 presented its $8 billion plan for the development. The plan reportedly includes 20 acres of park space plus five acres of athletic fields on Citi Field’s parking lots. Further, the development will include a range of amenities and improvements, such as the facilitation of access to the Willets Point station. It will also include a Taste of Queens food hall, as well as investments into community programs, such as immigration legal aid, health care, and youth and senior programs, as SN reports.
As the plan simultaneously gains support and provoke opposition within the community, State Sen. Jessica Ramos has recently summoned a town hall to ensure that the Queens community is acquainted with the proposal to be able to weigh its prospects. Ramos, a Queens Democrat, reportedly said: “This is a really important decision. I still think not enough community members know about either proposal or that there is this possibility of a casino coming, and our community does deserve to know.”
As reported by SN, State Sen. Ramos may impact the decision on the eligibility of the proposal. She can reportedly choose one of the five members of the community advisory committee, a body entitled to reject the plan. Until further notice, Cohen and Hard Rock continue the race with ten other casinos for a downtown casino license.