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Boro elected officials split on Olympic stadium

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"At this point I'm not supporting the project because I have very significant concerns," said City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside). "I'm curious to see how they are going to address the traffic problem with the Olympic venue - not to mention the construction activity that will go on for almost 10 years."City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Jackson Heights) echoed Avella's concerns. "We have major issues with congestion in this community, particularly because there are three stadiums here: We've got the Arthur Ashe Stadium, we have the Louis Armstrong Stadium right next to it and we have Shea," Monserrate said. The Mets aim to put shovels in the ground next year for the new 45,000-seat arena, which is slated to open by 2009. If the city wins the 2012 Olympics, another round of construction would expand the facility for the Games.City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) said the work would no doubt be a headache, but it would be worth it in the long run. "I am as fearful as everyone else about the nightmare that we'll have to live through," Liu said. "But I'm excited about what happens after the Games are finished and done and we get the new housing ... we get the new public recreation facilities that we need." State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) said the Olympic hubbub would be nothing that Queens had not seen before in preparation for the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The events reshaped the borough by eliminating the infamous Corona ash dumps and spurring the building of the Long Island and Van Wyck Expressways and Whitestone Bridge. "We've had two World's Fairs and all the construction that went on attending to it and it was a positive," Padavan said, adding that the Olympics would leave a similar legacy. "You've got to look at the pluses. After it's all done you're left with a lot of things that would otherwise not happen." U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) said that much of the infrastructure created by the World's Fairs has weathered with age. He said the Olympics should be the catalyst for repairs. "This would be a boon to Queens as long as there was a commitment to upgrade roads and highways and bridges that need it," Ackerman said. Reach reporter Matt Monks at news@timesedger.com or 718-229-0300, Ext. 156. By Matthew MonksSome elected officials fear the new Mets stadium could be less than a home run for Queens, unleashing endless traffic jams on the borough's highways. "At this point I'm not supporting the project because I have very significant concerns," said City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside). "I'm curious to see how they are going to address the traffic problem with the Olympic venue - not to mention the construction activity that will go on for almost 10 years."City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Jackson Heights) echoed Avella's concerns. "We have major issues with congestion in this community, particularly because there are three stadiums here: We've got the Arthur Ashe Stadium, we have the Louis Armstrong Stadium right next to it and we have Shea," Monserrate said. The Mets aim to put shovels in the ground next year for the new 45,000-seat arena, which is slated to open by 2009. If the city wins the 2012 Olympics, another round of construction would expand the facility for the Games.City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) said the work would no doubt be a headache, but it would be worth it in the long run. "I am as fearful as everyone else about the nightmare that we'll have to live through," Liu said. "But I'm excited about what happens after the Games are finished and done and we get the new housing ... we get the new public recreation facilities that we need." State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) said the Olympic hubbub would be nothing that Queens had not seen before in preparation for the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The events reshaped the borough by eliminating the infamous Corona ash dumps and spurring the building of the Long Island and Van Wyck Expressways and Whitestone Bridge. "We've had two World's Fairs and all the construction that went on attending to it and it was a positive," Padavan said, adding that the Olympics would leave a similar legacy. "You've got to look at the pluses. After it's all done you're left with a lot of things that would otherwise not happen." U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) said that much of the infrastructure created by the World's Fairs has weathered with age. He said the Olympics should be the catalyst for repairs. "This would be a boon to Queens as long as there was a commitment to upgrade roads and highways and bridges that need it," Ackerman said. Reach reporter Matt Monks at news@timesedger.com or 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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