Mets’ Casino Dreams Halted by Key State Senator

The New York Mets are facing challenges both on and off the field. Alongside a tough season, the team’s ambitious plans for a casino near Citi Field have hit a significant roadblock. A crucial state senator has rejected the proposal.

Team owner Steve Cohen, in collaboration with Hard Rock International, envisioned an $8 billion development named Metropolitan Park. This project included a casino, hotel, music venue, 20 acres of green space, and access to Flushing Bay. However, gaining local support and securing a zoning change were major hurdles.

Opposition from Senator Ramos

State Senator Jessica Ramos, representing the area, announced her opposition and stated she would not introduce the necessary legislation. Ramos emphasized the community’s need for investment and green space but rejected the idea of a casino as a trade-off. “We want investment and opportunity, we are desperate for green space, and recreation for the whole family,” she said. “We disagree on the premise that we have to accept a casino in our backyard as the trade-off. I resent the conditions and the generations of neglect that have made many of us so desperate that we would be willing to settle.”

While another senator could theoretically propose the required zoning change, this seems improbable. Local media reports suggest that senators typically defer to local legislators on such matters. Although a bill has been introduced in the state assembly, it would still require senate approval, which now appears unlikely.

Ramos has proposed an alternative plan that includes a convention center and hotel without the casino component, doubling the green space of the original proposal.

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Despite the setback, Cohen and Hard Rock are not giving up. Cohen has invested millions lobbying for the project and has garnered support from other local officials. The project promised to create 23,000 jobs and provide significant community benefits. Karl Rickett, a spokesman for the project, remains optimistic. “While we respect Senator Ramos’s point of view, the state never intended any one person to have the ability to single-handedly stop or approve a gaming project,” he told the New York Post. “As Metropolitan Park enjoys overwhelming support from elected officials, unions, and the local community we are confident that we have the best project in the best location. We have over a year and multiple pathways to secure the required approvals.”

The future of Metropolitan Park remains uncertain, but Cohen and Hard Rock continue to explore options. The project, if approved, promises substantial benefits but faces significant opposition. The next steps will determine whether this ambitious plan can overcome its obstacles and move forward.

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