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Despite some sporty jabs over which team was going to win the much-anticipated Mets vs. Yankees series, Queens Borough President Helen Marshal and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion got serious before a group of local business owners when discussing the surge of development throughout the two boroughs, and the potential development surrounding the respective stadiums.The meeting was the first in what the presidents hoped would become a tradition of open forums before the annual games.In response to what Carrion called a plague of developers "parachuting in to develop" the land around Yankee Stadium and shunning local business, Marshall recommended following the Queens' path. "What we're doing, Adolfo, with the city-owned big pieces of land, we're selling them, developing them and still maintaining the parking," said Marshall, referring to plans for Municipal Lot 1 in Flushing.But as for Shea Stadium itself, Marshall said the borough was ready for a change. Her support of the West Side Stadium, which would bring additional venues to the borough if the city wins its bid for the 2012 Olympics, is conditional, she said, on greater attention on building a new Mets stadium."We cannot continue to patch up Shea Stadium," she said. "We've spent $20 million patching up Shea Stadium. We can't continue to do that."Although proposals from the Queens Chamber of Commerce have been made to build the new stadium on Willets Point, Marshall was doubtful it would sit alongside the existing stadium. The old Shea would have to come down, she said."We can't handle two stadiums in Queens," she said.Instead, Marshall said she wanted a new Shea in the same area. With her West Side Stadium support contingent on a serious Shea consideration, several business owners participating in the forum questioned the economical viability of bringing the Olympics to New York City, citing the great expectations and subsequent losses sustained by Atlanta and Barcelona after previous Olympic games failed to produce expected revenues. Still, Marshall voiced her support, both for the West Side Stadium and for a new Shea. "What we're doing is bringing businesses to Queens," she said. "This is not just something I'm saying in passing. I've looked into this. We're going to ensure any business (the Olympics) bring in will stay around after it's gone."Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2005 Community Newspaper Group
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