“The NY Cosmos plan is a big win for Belmont and Elmont,” Sandra Smith, who chairs the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development, said in a written statement. “Their proposal revitalizes our community, creates jobs and expands the tax base.”
The Cosmos say that the stadium will be open to local soccer teams to practice and play on, and the team is also pledging $2.5 million for the redesign and development of community soccer fields. The development would also include a footbridge connecting the northern and southern parts of the site to limit automotive traffic, as well as improved lighting and landscaping.
If the plan is approved, construction of the stadium could begin next year, with possible completion in the spring of 2016. The plan is being reviewed by the Empire State Development Corporation, which has said that the process could take several months.
A new stadium at Belmont Park would compete with a proposed Major League Soccer stadium at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. MLS has not announced a franchise owner for that stadium, and the location is somewhat controversial, because local community groups worry about the displaced parkland.
MLS currently has 19 teams, including the Red Bulls, headquartered in Harrison, N.J.
“We are 100 percent behind the Cosmos. No other organization has come to Elmont with a proposal like this,” Elmont Memorial High School Principal John Capozzi said in a written statement. He added that “bringing professional soccer and a field for our kids to play on to Elmont would mean the world to us.”