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MLS Struggling to Find Replacement Parkland for Stadium

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In order to build a Major League Soccer stadium on 13 acres of land in Flushing-Meadows Corona Park, MLS officials would be required to replace the lost parkland taken up by the stadium with new green space. But DNAinfo reports that finding adequate, clean space is proving to be a problem. One site being seriously considered sits alongside the polluted Flushing River in Willets Point. Owned by the MTA, the 12-acre site has poor soil conditions, and it's likely toxic since the river was used as a dumping ground for sewage and motor oil. MLS officials are also considering a site three miles away in Rego Park?the same 16.6 acre site of the abandoned Rockaway Beach Long Island Rail Road tracks that local groups want to turn into a High Line-esque park.

Unsurprisingly, residents are wary of the benefits ever materializing. After the new Yankee Stadium was built on parkland, it took six years for the old stadium to be turned into the new park. In Manhattan, Columbia University has taken ages to build the promised waterfront park in Inwood, despite speedy construction on its Manhattanville sports complex.

The Daily News reports that MLS officials hope to ink a deal for the $300 million stadium with the city within 30 days. The MLS commissioner said he hopes to break ground by 2014 and have the whole place up and running by 2016 or 2017. SHoP architects have been tapped to design the stadium, and rough plans were revealed to the city last week.
· 'Toxic' Site Eyed as Replacement Parkland in MLS Soccer Stadium Proposal [DNAinfo]
· Major League Soccer Hopes to Iron Out Stadium Deal With City in Next 30 Days [NYDN]
· MLS Flushing Stadium coverage [Curbed]