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While city officials, developers and bankers are planning to use Flushing Meadows
Corona Park for water sports in a proposed 2012 Olympics, some civic associations cite the economic burden, inconvenience to parkgoers and environmental repercussions such a plan could cause.
The U.S. Olympic Committee is considering New York City,
Washington, D.C., Houston and San Francisco as sites for the Olympics and should
announce its choice by November. The International Committee then will choose
a location from worldwide competitors by 2005.
The NYC2012 plans to call for different events to take place in all five boroughs of the city and in New Jersey. Those in favor say it will cost about $3.2
billion to build the necessary facilities, which means it probably will cost $5 billion. Several
billion also will be needed to build rail lines connecting sites.
On the positive side, one can
figure that new transportation lines will help the economy of the whole Metropolitan
region. They may even figure a way to connect the JFK AirTrain by a one-seat ride to
Manhattan. They want to build the Olympic Village in western Queens near the
Queensborough Bridge along the East River. This would be paid for by private money and
produce 4,400 housing units. There are those for and against this idea.
The Queens civic associations are opposed to the dredging of Willow and Meadow lakes so they can be used for water sports. To make a long enough course the
NYC2012 committee wants to build a suspension bridge to replace Jewel Avenue, which
separates the lakes. The committee says that this should take two years so it
probably will take four years, during which part of Flushing Meadows Park will be closed to
They say they will add wetland and more plant species to the lakes. Will the
displaced park users then come to the heavily used and badly worn Cunningham Park?
What will happen to the aquifer under Willow Lake that supplies fresh water to Nassau County as the lake is dredged?
The NYC2012 committee wants to rent the new lake out as a recreational park
after the Olympics is over. Who would run this enterprise in a public park? How much
will the concessionaire pay the city? Will the money go to the general city coffers or
will some or all of it be used by the Queens parks?
The civic associations complain that all this money and effort will be for a three-week
extravaganza. What will happen to the new soccer, cricket and baseball fields in Flushing
Meadows park? The Queens civic leaders feel that there are alternate sites for the rowing
and canoeing events in the Bronx and Rockaway.
At some point the proponents may talk about how much money will be added to the
citys economy by having the Olympics here. If I remember stories I read about past
Olympics in U.S. cities, I believe that the economic benefits didnt quite
materialize for various reasons. Get some old newspapers and take a look.
The lakes should be upgraded but not at the physical cost the promoters envision.
Many of our parks need renovating. There are enough people who pay
taxes and use the park who should have a better facility in Flushing Meadows.
How many average people can afford to pay for tickets to the Tennis Center in
the park? Will the public facilities be the same after the Olympics is over?
GOOD AND BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK
Sun is good for the body because it makes vitamin D. One only needs a few minutes of
sun each day to be healthy. However, people spend hours in the sun so malignant
melanoma cases are increasing faster than any other cancer. A recent article said that skin
cancer kills more women in their late 20s and early 30s than breast cancer. New York
has the fourth-highest number of melanoma cases in the United States. People are urged to
avoid unprotected sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. One should cover
himself or herself with hats and tight-knit long-sleeve shirts and use a high SPF sunscreen year
round. One should have a yearly body check for skin cancer.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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