Queens, NY is set to undergo a big change as Steve Cohen, owner of the NY Mets, and gaming company Bally’s team up for an ambitious plan. Their goal is to create an $8 billion casino called Metropolitan Park near Citi Field. This project aims to be a central hub for sports, entertainment, and economic growth. However, there are challenges and opposition that could slow down progress.

One of the main challenges for Cohen and Bally’s is getting support from local politicians in a short amount of time. Cohen, a billionaire investor, has partnered with Hard Rock International for the bid and needs approval from the City Council and state Legislature. Assembly member Jeffrion Aubry supports the casino plan, but State Senator Jessica Ramos, who represents the district including Citi Field, is cautious and wants careful consideration.

Opponents of the casino plans, like Council member Kristy Marmorato, strongly disagree with the project. Marmorato suggests an alternative strategy with a boardwalk and family-friendly establishments instead of a casino. This difference in opinion shows the divisive nature of the proposal and the challenges Cohen and Bally’s face in gaining support.

A major obstacle for the casino project is the issue of using public parklands for the complex. Approval from state and city officials is needed. Resolving this issue requires collaboration and agreement among key stakeholders.

Time is running out for Cohen and Bally’s. Delays in resolving the parkland issue could jeopardize their plans. Ramos has not introduced a bill in the last session, wanting more input from constituents and expressing skepticism towards Cohen’s intentions. Some see the proposed timeline as a rushed deadline, making the process even more complicated.

To ensure a fair evaluation process, advisory committees appointed by the governor, mayor, and local politicians will review applications from Cohen and Bally’s. Formal applications are expected in the next few months, with a final decision by a state-controlled selection board in 2025 at the earliest.

While some local lawmakers, like Senator Nathalia Fernandez and Assembly member Michael Benedetto, generally support a casino in the east Bronx area, the final decision lies with the consensus of decision-makers. Cohen and Bally’s must balance addressing concerns and gaining enough support to make their vision a reality.

The potential casino near Citi Field brings both exciting opportunities and challenges. Supporters believe it can boost the economy, create jobs, and enhance entertainment. However, opponents have valid concerns about the social and economic impact on the community.

As the battle for a casino in Queens unfolds, all eyes are on Cohen, Bally’s, and the stakeholders involved. The outcome will shape the future of Queens and set a precedent for major development projects in the city. With time running out and the fate of Metropolitan Park hanging in the balance, an exciting showdown will determine the future of Queens and the city as a whole.