State senators representing the neighborhoods that border Belmont Park have signaled new support for the $1.18 redevelopment plan that would build a new 19,000-seat hockey arena for the New York Islanders, a 250-room hotel and a 435,000 square foot retail complex adjacent to the racetrack’s grandstand.
State Senator Leroy Comrie, who has been concerned about the project’s potential strain on Cambria Heights and Queens Village along the western edge of the racetrack campus, joined state Senators Todd Kaminsky and Anna M. Kaplan in updating their communities.
Comrie has insisted publicly that any final project include the full-service LIRR station instead of limited service at the current facility with the cost of the new station passed on to the developer. He has also called for a year-round Park-and-Ride for commuters at the 6,000 space parking lot adjacent to the racetrack, as well as a significant expansion of the Cross Island Parkway.
“We have been united in insisting that the voices of our constituents and stakeholders be heard throughout the planning and redevelopment process,” the elected officials said in a joint statement Wednesday. “After extensive community outreach and numerous public hearing, we identified a critical need for improved mass transit options, including a full-service LIRR station, and a comprehensive traffic mitigation strategy for local roads and the Cross Island Parkway. We are encouraged to hear the needs of our constituents are being heard. Specially, that discussions of a full-service LIRR station to serve the community are progressing, and that an ongoing study of local roads and traffic patterns will result in the implementation of a multi-pronged plan for traffic mitigation.”
The redevelopment plan announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2017 will create 12,000 construction jobs and 3,100 permanent jobs.
“With these concerns now being addressed by the developer and Empire State Development, we are eager to see the project proceed so that we can deliver the community improvements and responsible economic development attendant to this project,” the Senators concluded. “We look forward to continuing to work with our constituents, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and our colleagues on the state and local level to ensure that this project brings the tangible results and benefits that our communities need and our residents deserve.”
New York Arena Partners, a development consortium behind the project, is hoping to begin construction later this summer so it can be completed in time for the Islanders to open the 2021 season at the new arena.