“WHAT DO WE WANT?” “THE STADIUM!” “WHEN DO WE WANT IT?” “NOW!”
The cry rang out early and often across the course of the Cosmos stadium rally as labor workers, local citizens, and fans of the club net at the proposed stadium site in Elmont. Between 150 and 200 people were in attendance as all parties demanded action from Albany in contrast to the opposition protest about a week before that numbered about a dozen in attendance.
“Over 20 politicians have been supportive of this project. The community is supportive of this project,” said LI Fed President Fred Durso to the large contingent of labor workers present at the rally. “All of us in labor are supportive of this project. It’s time for the governor and the Empire State Development Corporation to get off the dime, get this project going, and get us to work!”
Local citizens and civic groups were also present and very vocal on what they thought of the situation.
“Look at that parking lot. It’s empty. Look at what we could have!” exclaimed Pat Nicolosi, president of the Elmont East End Civic Association. “This is what we could have, this is what the community can have, ok? This is what we can have for family, fun, and entertainment, jobs, and revenue. And why are we waiting? Do you know why we’re waiting? I have no idea. We need to get the governer to act yesterday! We want this stadium built yesterday! I’m sick and tired of waiting in this community!”
Erik Stover was also in attendance and offered a few words at the event.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this and your resolve through this process has been outstanding,” said the Cosmos COO.
Speaking with a portion of the attendees at the rally, TICC found many reasons for support of the stadium, some of which included the Cosmos, others which did not.
“Here you have a soccer team who’s coming here who wants to produce jobs with prevailing wages and every other part of the country is looking for something like that and you got it here,” one attendee told us. “This is what every county is looking for right now in the United States and it’s here.”
“It would also be nice to get a professional sports team back on Long Island in Nassau County. All these politicians, they talk a good game, then they lose us the Islanders. Now we’re stuck with one semipro team on the whole island, the Ducks, and that’s in Suffolk County. Being a Nassau resident, I’d like to see a sports team begin back here,” said another.
Anytime a ball club is willing to put forth their own money to put together a stadium for the enjoyment of all, that’s a win. There’s no lose there,” said a third. “That’s a community win, that’s a taxpayer’s win, it’s an economic win. So, I’m here.”
Stover took the megaphone to close out the rally.
“Yes, we want a stadium, but it’s a lot more than that. We’re talking about a 175-room hotel, nine restaurants, over 300,000 square feet of retail, a movie theater; this will be a destination 365 days a year, not just 40 or 50 soccer games. Across the street, that track is almost empty. We do this here, it’ll fill back up again. We do this here, there’ll be more jobs. More jobs means more housing in the community, more redevelopment, but we have to start here.”