Queens Borough President Melinda Katz in her State of the Borough address Friday proposed the placement of a soccer and hockey arena at Willets Point, as well as a school, economic recreation center and a parking facility at the 62-acre site.
Katz, in her address, said, “… as we await the outcome of the lawsuit, let’s ponder additional options.”
“We should be unafraid we should think bigger, bolder and more comprehensively,” she later said. “We need to review positioning ourselves for success by thinking creatively about further options that address our changing borough’s needs — a new school, an eco-recreation center, more parking to accommodate simultaneous big events that we have there now, because all those big events that we have now are wreaking havoc on the soccer fields and grass in Flushing Meadows for parking.
“And to help pay for it, let's consider a soccer stadium, let's consider a hockey stadium” she said. “Just imagine if we, the World’s Borough, hosted the World Cup or the Stanley Cup.”
One opponent of the mall project quickly criticized the borough president’s proposal.
"Borough President Katz's push for yet another stadium in Willets Point on property that was essentially stolen from small businesses for the supposed use of creating a new affordable residential community — a plan that she herself negotiated in 2008 as the Land Use Chair on the City Council! — would be almost comical if it weren't so disturbing,” said Paul Graziano, an urban planning consultant, plaintiff in the lawsuit and City Council hopeful.
“Law enforcement officials should look very carefully at possible collusion between the Borough President's office and the developers in question, as this seems to be yet another attempt at grabbing our city's public property in order to further enrich a few very already wealthy individuals at our expense," Graziano, who is running as a primary opponent against Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) in September, continued.