Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Jets and the Park

The Times' Charles Bagli is reporting that the Jets will be meeting with Queens BP Helen Marshall in order to discuss plans to move the team back to NYC. As we have noted the team is interested in a portion of Flushing Meadow Park and that has set of a furor of recriminations and doubts. David Oats, the founder of the Queens Olympic Committee, is adamantly opposed to what he feels is the destruction of precious park land and a part of the 1964 World's Fair. Councilman John Lui, whose district includes Flushing Meadow Park, remarks that the project will be a "hard sell" and Ben Haber, president of the Civic Association of Kew Gardens Hills, feels that giving over heavily used park space would be "giveaway to billionaire sports club owners." Even the mayor is less than enthusiastic about pushing the plan.

The previously floated idea for a Jets stadium at Willets Point may be losing steam as well, say some Queens officials:

Many people thought that the team was looking at a ramshackle district of auto shops known as Willets Point, near Shea Stadium and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. But Queens officials say the Jets fear that it may take until 2009 or 2010 for the city to condemn the property, relocate the 150 businesses that are currently there and clean up the environment.
Even if the Jets stop eyeing Willets Point - and we're not going to let the assertions of anonymous Queens officials convince us of that just yet - we know that the city wants it redeveloped and the businesses there removed. It is imperative that whatever plan is eventually adopted for Willets Point protects and preserves the hundreds of small businesses that have been neglected for half a century and have provided New York with vital jobs and services.