State Sen. Jessica Ramos is hosting her third town hall meeting Wednesday night to discuss New York Mets owner Steve Cohen’s proposal to build a casino on the parking lot west of Citi Field.
The meeting will take place at the New York Hall of Science and comes three months after her last town hall about the proposed casino that was held at Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities Center in Corona. The November meeting drew hundreds of attendees.
The Feb. 7 meeting will include a presentation by Cohen’s development team who have put together the mammoth “Metropolitan Park” proposal. The meeting will also include a presentation by advocates calling for a different plan, who note that any development would go up on public parkland where Shea Stadium used to sit.
“This town hall will feature presentations from representatives of Metropolitan Park and the coalition backing the Phoenix Meadows proposal,” Ramos said. “I strongly encourage my neighbors to come with questions.”
Cohen is partnering with entertainment giant Hard Rock International to create an $8 billion year-round entertainment complex known as Metropolitan Park. In addition to a casino, the complex would also feature a Queens food court, a live entertainment venue, a hotel and 20 acres of open park space. Cohen said in a statement that the development would create more than 15,000 jobs and economic opportunities for Queens businesses and restaurants.
Before Cohen and Hard Rock International can move forward with the project, legislative action in Albany would be needed before a shovel is permitted to hit the ground, since the parking lot is on public parkland.
Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry introduced park alienation legislation last March—which would allow for the development of the city-owned land to proceed. Ramos, however, has not introduced companion legislation in the upper chamber for the Metropolitan Park proposal to move forward.
Following the second town hall, Ramos was uncommitted.
“My position remains unchanged: I work at the speed of my neighbors, not at the speed of a billionaire’s personal timeline,” she said afterward. “If I was to introduce parkland alienation legislation, it would only be because my community has iron-clad commitments where the benefits vastly outweigh the risks associated with a casino and that there is somehow no better alternative to address the problem of the asphalt parking lot.”
Following the presentations, Ramos will moderate a question-and-answer session.
The Wednesday, Feb. 7 town hall at the New York Hall of Science gets underway at 6:30 p.m. at 47-01 111th St. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. To RSVP, visit here.