Statement From Council Member Francisco Moya on Proposed Metropolitan Park

By Council Member Francisco Moya | March 28, 2024

Corona, NY I have built my career in public service serving the people of Queens and working to address the economic needs of my community while preserving and improving every resident’s quality of life. Hence, when I was first approached about building Metropolitan Park the new sports, entertainment and recreational park being proposed by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and Hard Rock International, my main consideration was ensuring that it would truly meet the needs of my constituents and be additive to our local economy.

While we faced real obstacles and challenges in our initial discussions, I was clear that Metropolitan Park would need to fulfill several specific criteria to earn my support, including:

  • Jobs created must be impactful for my community, which means they must be 100% union jobs, both in construction and operation
  • A real recommitment to hiring MWBE firms and local residents
  • Meaningful engagement and earned support from community leaders and stakeholders
  • Real and tangible partnerships with local community organizations and community projects
  • The future negotiation of a Community Benefits Agreement with community stakeholders
  • A commitment to complement and enhance current projects in the area

I am happy to report that over the past six months, Mr. Cohen and Hard Rock International have worked to address all of these requirements. Beyond my own dialogue with Mr. Cohen, I have also spoken extensively with local community leaders and residents. We agree that Mr. Cohen’s community-informed vision of a sports, entertainment and recreational destination, including new passive and active open spaces, an entertainment venue, gaming facility, and hotel will be a positive and transformative economic boon for our community and city.

“For too long, Queens and our neighborhoods have missed out on opportunities for jobs, housing, and entertainment. Together, Metropolitan Park and the Willets Point plan will change that by creating thousands of good-paying union jobs, unprecedented amounts of affordable housing, and new parks for the community to enjoy.”  Reverand Patrick Young, First Baptist Church

“In Queens, we take pride in being called the World’s Borough. Now with the development of Willets Point and Metropolitan Park, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a world-class destination that will help bring new customers from around the world to local businesses like mine.” Fernando Ruiz, Owner of Tortilleria Nixtamal

“Unionized construction is one of the best economic opportunities and middle-class career pathways available to many underserved communities in our city, including formerly incarcerated individuals, immigrants, people of color, and others from low-income neighborhoods. And major construction projects like Queens Future can provide these communities with good wages, health coverage, and stable, predictable work.”  Mike Prohaska, Business Manager, Construction and General Building Laborers’ Local 79

“Queens Future is our opportunity to bring over 11,000 new, good-paying union construction jobs to Queens and to transform these underutilized parking lots into a unique recreational, commercial, and entertainment hub.  The project will provide Cement & Concrete Workers District Council members with years’ worth of job opportunities and act as a catalyst for further regional revitalization.”  Angelo Angelone, President and Business Manager, Cement & Concrete Workers District Council 16

I wholeheartedly believe that Metropolitan Park is in Queens’ and New York City’s best interest. I am committed to advancing a New York City Council home rule message for the State to authorize the City of New York to seize this opportunity, by permitting additional uses on this land to facilitate the sports, entertainment, and recreational park.  Additionally, to ensure the success of this project, I am committing to advancing any and all other required actions, including any zoning, land use and Gaming Commission required approvals. The redevelopment of the parking lots will include at least twenty acres of open space and recreation fields and an entertainment district including an indoor live music venue, hotel, bars, restaurants, and community space. A casino gaming facility would also be permitted as an element of the project subject to licensure by the New York State Gaming Commission. Combined, these will provide the economic engine to drive people to the area year-round and create a world-class fan experience for the millions who come to Citi Field, the USTA Tennis Center, and all those who will soon be coming to cheer on the NYCFC.

If we fail to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we ensure that the area around Citi Field remains underutilized parking lots for the foreseeable future; and we permanently stymie the future growth potential of Queens. Let’s not allow that to happen. I look forward to supporting this historic project and making Metropolitan Park a reality.

Francisco Moya represents the 21st Council District – encompassing East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, LeFrak City, and his native Corona.  Prior to his 2017 election to the Council, Moya was elected to the 39th Assembly District in 2010, making him the first Ecuadorian-American elected to public office in the United States.