Soccer stadium proposal: point/counterpoint

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In January, a proposal by the N.Y. Cosmos soccer franchise for development of a 25,000-seat soccer stadium, hotel, restaurants and retail space at Belmont Park was submitted to Empire State Development Corporation. The Cosmos, a famed club for whom soccer legend Pele played, was last active in a professional league nearly 30 years ago, and is set for a revival. Pending approval of their proposal, the Cosmos have gone “all-in” and tried to sell Elmont and surrounding communities on the idea that a soccer stadium would generate revenue and play a major role in their economic revitalization.

That notion has been met with significant skepticism by many residents and town officials, however. While the idea for a mixed-use development such as the one proposed by the Cosmos has been well-received by some residents, an equally large contingency has spoken out against it. Opponents of the stadium have expressed a need to consider alternative options for the Belmont space, such as housing for young professionals.

As Empire State Development makes a final decision about the fate of the proposed stadium, it is important to consider the perspectives of both sides. Elmont residents Patrick Nicolosi, who is against the idea, and Richard Debrosse, who supports it, have been vocal in their respective views. Nicolosi, vice president of the Elmont Library Board, and Debrosse, president of the Elmont Youth Soccer League, were asked the same three questions. It should be noted that neither Nicolosi nor Debrosse answered the questions on behalf of the organizations they are affiliated with. They were asked as informed residents only. Below are their responses:

Patrick Nicolosi/Richard Debrosse

1) The state’s purpose in Belmont development is to preserve and improve profitability of racing at Belmont Park. Do you think the soccer stadium / retail project will achieve this purpose, or, if not, what do you think would?

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