Target: Micheal Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City
Goal: Condemn plans to build stadium on vital urban parkland
Neighborhood green spaces, from the smallest corner parks to massive urban preserves, are essential to a healthy and vibrant community. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stands as a longtime advocate for such spaces, and his PlaNYC program aims to provide at least one public park within walking distance of every New Yorker. PlaNYC ambitiously outlines other “green” efforts in the city, such as energy efficiency construction guidelines, promoting electric cars, and planting a million street and park trees.
But Mayor Bloomberg and the city’s commendable PlaNYC efforts recently took a step backward. As reported by Sarah Goodyear in last week’s edition of The Atlantic Cities, plans for a new Major League Soccer stadium in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park of Queens met steep resistance from locals. The proposed $340 million, 25,000-plus seat stadium is backed by Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and billionaire real estate and sports investor Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Mahyan. The neighborhood, predominantly populated by working class immigrant communities, would lose 13 acres at the heart of the park – which is “smack dab in the middle of one of the city’s most heavily used parks,” Goodyear adds. Mayor Bloomberg’s intransigent response to criticisms contends that these spaces will be replaced by expanding a park at the old Flushing Airport. As Goodyear notes in the article, the new park that would “replace” Flushing Meadows is actually three miles away, with limited transit access.
Neighborhood parks not only provide a respite from the hustle and bustle of major city life, they provide a community meeting center, recreational areas to promote physical fitness, and space for children to play safely. Condemn Mayor Bloomberg’s counterproductive efforts to convert one of the city’s most celebrated and widely enjoyed parks and reaffirm his commitment to “a greener, greater” New York City.
Dear Mayor Michael Bloomberg,
Your efforts sponsoring and promoting the PlaNYC initiatives set a superlative example for other city and metropolitan leaders throughout the nation. Preserving green spaces – and easy access to public parks and trails for all residents – promotes healthy, active lifestyles and environmental conservation.
We are concerned, however, that recent efforts to build the proposed Soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park will compromise PlaNYC’s laudable efforts. Flushing Meadows serves numerous working class communities which spoke out about the proposal, and responses to their concerns have been circular or indirect at best. Removing the heart of one of the city’s greatest and most widely-enjoyed public parks is a disservice to the people who utilize it every day. We strongly encourage you to find an alternative to this proposal and ask you to recommit adequate funding for one of the largest, community-oriented parks in the great City of New York.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: Youngking11, via Wikimedia