As residents who benefit from a park-like setting that includes large public parks nearby, we are sensitive to encroachments on any parklands. Therefore, we applaud the suit that State Senator Tony Avella, in conjunction with various civic groups and interested parties, filed last week to stop the construction of a shopping mall on part of the Flushing Meadows Park adjacent to CitiField.
As first reported elsewhere including on the Queens Crap blog and Queens Tribune, the lawsuit contends, among other points, that the “public trust doctrine” has been violated as State approval would be needed for any transfer of ownership of parkland or new commercial use of public parkland.
To clarify, this suit does not, as reported by some, stop the (across-the-street) Willets Point redevelopment being undertaken by the same developers. These developers once proposed retail development on that site but somehow relocated the retail portion to the parkland in question during the previous mayoral administration. According to the Queens Tribune, Senator Avella hope that “the lawsuit will bring the new mayor’s attention to this issue…(and that he) will take a fresh look at this whole project.”
The issue as to whether a shopping center should be built anywhere in this very congested area is the larger issue of overdevelopment that hits very close to home, as a future blog entry will explore. As a long-suffering N.Y. Mets fan, this blogger would rather see the Mets owners (one of the developers) build a baseball team that could maul its opponents rather than build a mall that would have many opponents.