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Citi Field is beautiful, but after the Mets’ first complete season in their new home, has everyone who helped pay for it benefitted? On this experts and local business owners are divided.
The stadium was built with money from the city, state and federal governments. The idea was the games would generate tax revenues and stimulate the local economy. The city Independent Budget Office estimates the stadium cost the city $138.1 million, state $96 million and federal government $137.4 million through tax-exempt financing, infrastructure contributions and foregone parking revenue. Taxpayer generosity will save the Mets $513 million.
But the impact on Flushing businesses has been minimal. Mets fans pay a hefty price for tickets and parking. The new stadium offers improved eating opportunities, but Citi Field parking and dining are not cheap. There is not much chance fans will leave Citi Field and head to a Flushing restaurant for dinner.
The hope is the area around the field will become a destination. That may happen when the Willets Point revitalization is completed, but for now much of the neighborhood bordering the stadium is depressing.
We believe when the restoration of Willets Point is complete, the area will benefit. Citi Field will be just one attraction. In that sense government financing makes sense.
New questions have been raised about the ethics of state Sen. Hiram Monserrate. He was convicted three weeks ago of misdemeanor assault charges related to an incident in which his girlfriend’s face was slashed with a broken glass. He was acquitted of more serious felony charges, but four government reform groups have raised questions about Monserrate’s legal defense fund.
The groups — the New York Public Interest Research Group, Citizen Action, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters — want to know the defense fund donors’ identities. They have filed a complaint with the state Legislative Ethics Commission. The public has the right to know where the money came from.
The number of people seeking Monserrate’s ousting grows. A Senate panel has begun considering possible sanctions against him. He should step down.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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