By Kevin McCrudden, October 29, 2015

ELMONT, NY (Thursday, October 29th) ­ A large crowd of Long Island union members and Elmont residents rallied on Thursday in support of a plan to build a world-class sports facility for the New York Cosmos soccer team. Political and labor leaders joined the protesters to support the project, which is largely consistent with the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development¹s plan to rejuvenate the area. A wide range of civil society organizations were represented at the rally, demonstrating broad popular support the development project. 

The diverse group of supporters including Republican State Senator Jack M. Martins and President of the Long Island Federation of Labor John R. Durso. Other notable attendees came from the Building Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development and the Elmont NAACP.

³The NY Cosmos have committed to using union labor on a $400 million project,² John R. Durso, President of the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. ³When you use union labor, you are providing opportunities for local people to do local work.  This project provides jobs for members and economic development which this community needs.²

³The Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties has 59,000 members that have and will continue to make a career as skilled tradesmen building our communities,² Dick O¹Kane, President, Building Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties. ³This project will strengthen the careers of so many of our members, many of whom live and could potentially work right here in Elmont.²

Many attendees expressed frustration that the plan, a multi-use proposal that would provide a badly needed economic jolt to the community, has been held up. They emphasized that economic development was a vital concern to community members, and hoped that the state would move forward with this important project.

³This project would be an economic boon for the community and enliven an area that is desperate for economic stimulus.  It¹s amazing to me that the State can issue an RFP and then not only doesn¹t chose a project for three years but can¹t even tell you when we might get an answer,² said Claudine Hall, president of the Jamaica Square Improvement League. 

"ESD has not provided any clear answers to Elmont homeowners or businesses on the redevelopment of the Belmont property,² said the President of Elmont School Board of Education, Michael Jaime. ³This property needs to be elevated to a world renowned sporting and entertainment complex to spur economic rebirth in this region. A parking lot to local car dealers will no longer be tolerated." 

³For too long we have seen the land sit idle and unused, we are tired of waiting. This project will bring thousands of jobs to our community and we need it now,² said Sandra Smith, chairperson for the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development.

³The Elmont community strongly supports the Cosmos proposal and it would a great loss for this community and our economy if the State does not chose a project, and soon,² said Richard DeBrosse, local attorney and youth soccer organizer.