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Queens Pol faces growing pressure to support casino hub near Citi Field

Queens Pol faces growing pressure to support casino hub near Citi Field


Pressure is leaning on State Sen. Jessica Ramos to help pave the way for Mets owner Steve Cohen's “Metropolitan Park.” proposed casino and entertainment center by Citi Field, as fierce competition to locate a casino in New York intensifies.

Several Queens elected officials urged her this week to support a state bill needed to eventually transform the parking lot around the stadium — legislation she supports. held for months while assess local support.

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York Mets owner Steve Cohen (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Queens Borough President Donovan Richardsmunicipal councilor Francisco Moya and deputy Jeffrion Aubry all showed their support for the project. In a letter sent Monday to Ramos and obtained by the Daily News, they implored her to support a measure that would cut bureaucratic red tape related to the casino project.

“We appreciate that, like us, you have taken a deliberative and thoughtful approach to weighing the benefits of this project, and that you will continue to gauge its support among your constituents,” they wrote. “We also heard the views of our shared constituency. The community wants Metropolitan Park.

Ramos has spent the last few months gathering local feedback on several town hallswhere she expresses herself skepticism on the project itself. Recent polls of the community showed varying levels of support for the company.

“I am curious to know what ‘deliberative process’ the authors of this letter believe they followed,” Ramos said in a statement. “I haven’t seen them attend one of my town hall meetings, let alone hold their own.”

New York budget

Senator Jessica Ramos

Hans Pennink/AP

State Senator Jessica Ramos

The $8 billion proposal would transform 50 acres of asphalt around Citi Field into an entertainment hub with a casino, hotel, concert hall, food hall and public park — if it first succeeds in overcome several government obstacles.

One of them is that Ramos is co-sponsoring a bill on “alienation of parks” already presented by Aubry. before the state legislative session ends in June. Because the huge parking lot around Citi Field is technically a park, he must be “alienated” by the State before anything could be built there.

Ramos said she would make a decision on the bill by the end of May. She, Aubry, Richards and Moya are expected to eventually approve Cohen's casino application as part of a community advisory committee, which will also include representatives from the mayor and governor.

There are currently about 10 applicants in the city aiming to obtain one of three casino licenses offered by the state. Two of them are expected to go to existing “racinos” in Yonkers and Resorts World on the other side of Queens. Status apps are not set to open until 2025However this process can be advanced.

The city recently made it easier for casinos to access the Big Apple by pass legislation permitting gaming facilities in certain commercial and manufacturing areas.

The nearby Citi Field area is poised for transformation even as Cohen does not obtain a casino license. The city council passed Willets Point's rezoning last month, paving the way for thousands of new homes and the city's first football stadium.




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