MLS had secret soccer plan

TimesLedger Newspapers
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

A confidential proposal made by Major League Soccer last year provides insight into the sports group’s closely guarded vision of what a stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park might look like, documents showed.

The internal plans, which appear to be a proposal from September 2012, were provided to the TimesLedger on condition that the source not be identified. In several renderings, the plans show that the stadium does not sit at ground level, but will rather be perched on top of a mound of earth that the league calls a “publicly accessible berm.”

Opponents of the park believe this berm is needed to build the foundation of the stadium, since the water table is so high in the park. Flushing Meadows sits in a flood plane, which would make it costly to dig downward.

The league said the proposal from last year does not necessarily reflect its current plans, which may or may not include the berm, since since its vision is constantly evolving. A league spokeswoman reiterated that the stadium would not be taller than the Unisphere, even with the mound.

MLS is staying mum about many details of the project, which is what makes groups like the Fairness Coalition believe there are too many unanswered questions associated with the proposal to make it viable — such as who the owner would be and if the team will even make money, hardly a guarantee for an MLS franchise, according to Will Sweeney, who is involved with the coalition.

Sweeney described the group of civic organizations as pro-park but not necessarily anti-development.

He also questioned MLS’s assessment of the number of jobs that will come along with the stadium. The league pegs the number at more than 2,000, yet a similarly sized soccer stadium that was recently proposed in Long Island would provide only 500 jobs.

MLS has said it counts the number of jobs created both on and off the job site, a methodology Sweeney called “absurd.”

The league has said repeatedly that its games would not coincide with games at the New York Mets’ Citi Field, yet the September proposal calls for a plan to mitigate concurrent events at each stadium.

In recent weeks, another group has emerged that is opposed to any commercial activity in the borough’s largest greenspace.

Save Flushing Meadows Corona Park, like the Fairness Coalition, has been endorsed by the Queens Civic Congress.

This group, led by members of the community, including Al Centola, of the Malba Gardens Civic Association, and Geoffrey Croft, of New York City Park Advocates, contends that parkland is sacred, protected by law, and should be free from development by corporations.

They released a video detailing their stance and called on Queens residents to urge their elected officials to oppose the commercialization of Flushing Meadows.

The soccer stadium is just one of three projects proposed for the park.

Developers at Willets Point hope to put a 1.4 million-square-foot mall on the site of a Citi Field parking lot — technically parkland — and the United States Tennis Association is looking to expand its footprint by less than an acre, but also continue to park cars on grassy areas of the park and build a diesel power generator outside the area it leases from the city, according to an environmental impact statement.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 5:31 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reader feedback

Bill from Corona says:

Great video
Feb. 7, 2013, 7:45 am
Bill from Corona Park says:

This link might work better
Feb. 7, 2013, 7:48 am
J from Glendale says:
Why does the mayor or MLS think that the soccer stadium should be built in the middle of the park? There are better places that can do that. How about building the stadium along Willets Point Blvd? The city is do dead-set on revitalizing that area, that could work great.

A better solution, in my opinion, is to construct the arena in the parking lot by Citi Field. Then, add a multi-level parking garage next to Citi Field along the third base line. Voila! There's plenty of parking now (and the lot on the south side of Roosevelt can now be a park-and-ride facility), you get a soccer stadium, and the park is saved. New York city and state paid a total of $600 million to build the baseball stadium, the least they can do is force a parking garage.
Feb. 7, 2013, 9:50 am
SFMCP says:
Only problem with that is that the parking lot is actually owned by parks department.
Feb. 7, 2013, 10:02 am
Steven from corona park says:
MLS wont say it but the city and mets already have plans for all the area around citi field and that is why MLS choose the bird toilet. The city already gave the mets another 23 acres on top all they stole in the past. Why all the attn is on MLS when the real thieves are the mets and tennis is beyond me. Fact is when mets were going to buy into MLS the stadium was going to be Willets point where their 23 acres sit. I would think the huge MALL would be of bigger concern.
Feb. 7, 2013, 12:14 pm
MS from The Park says:
All these projects spell disaster for the park. MLS claims increase to local businesses yet the mall will likely destroy local business. The stadium over the pool will destroy open space, and just the shadow this thing will cast will render adjacent parkland feeling like you are indoors. I a not against development, but not in public parkland where its a lose situation for all except the developers and their land grabs. Why do these politicians try to cover their failures in maintaining the park by sweeping it into the trash bin instead of leaving a legacy that they can be proud of giving the people a park to be proud of. These projects are being looked at in their separate vacuums. They have an increasing effect of disaster if all get approved. I beautiful park will likely draw more people there and to local business, than a mall and a stadium that will cause so much congestion people will stay away. What happens next, condo developments around the lake?
Feb. 10, 2013, 9:24 am

Comments closed.


Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: