There is a lot of exuberant talk about a Soccer1 Field of Dreams in Elmont but residents have been down this road before. Fact is the last bit of premature exuberance was supported in part by this writer – The Casino.
After reading, listening and reading again I must say there is not much here to report. A proposal (one of three) has taken on a virtual life - like Manti Te'o girl friend, and reasoned residents are taking a wait and see position. The merits of a minor league US soccer field as an engine of sustainable economic growth is questionable. There are many examples of failed US soccer stadiums and wildly successful sport stadiums with negligible to outright negative economic and social impact on the residential communities that surround them.
A quick search for “successful soccer stadium” returns many European
examples and mostly US news articles and fans with hopeful distant dreams. The most obvious but not exclusive reason for this European / US disconnect is culture. Soccer, like cricket2 is a European sport brought to the colonies during colonialism and imperialism (1450–1950)3. As such, the two sports have become a part of the fabric of society in places like the Caribbean and South and Latin America.
The USA’s shifting demographics4 may at some point in the distant future elevate soccer as a rival economic draw to baseball and American football, but there is simply no evidence of that being the case now.
However, culture is not the central argument for an Elmont Soccer Field of Dreams. Economic development and JoBS are. Richard DeBrosse of the Elmont Youth Soccer was forced to conceded during a heated debate on Facebook that Elmont jobs may be constrained to short term sub-contractor and food vending, "...the sub-contractors just like in all projects, they are generally from the area. Those workers get hungry and eat in local venues - thus, inserting a jolt into the economy. Please note there are no major developers in Elmont that can handle such a enormous project."5
Though “joBS, joBS - joBS” is the loudest rallying cry of the few supporters of the Soccer Field of Dreams, the overwhelming evidence about the impact of sport stadiums on residential communities like Elmont is inconsistent with the refrain. What is constant is the drain on local resources; marginal property tax relief and lower homes values realized by home owners and businesses.
FACEBOOK Mark Dreifus - "ok so now we are getting closer to the truth of the matter...so let me recap, this awesome project that is supposed to revitalize the residential neighborhood of Elmont will not do that at all. Instead, [you, Richard DeDrosse, are] now suggesting that there is a POSSIBILITY (as "generally" is not always/definite) that local residents MAY get sub-contracting work as a result of the one time construction project. You're also now suggesting that the cost of higher crime, lower levels of municipal services and lower property values are worth the one time POSSIBLE influx of money from these subcontractors by them buying a few Jr bacon cheeseburgers and nuggets at the local Wendys. I have gotta say, now that the facts are coming to light, your position as a non-resident who CLEARLY doesnt have the best interests of the actual current residents BUT POSITIONS HIMSELF AS THE CONTRARY is pretty disengenuous ([I'm] trying to be nice here). Please propose these things for your own community so that you can only negatively impact yourself and your neighbors."5
The majority in Elmont including some “closet Elmont Online readers” remember not so long ago (about 3 years) that the Elmont Memorial Library was the venue for carefully selected residents and media outlets (Elmont Online included) to meet with the Shinnecock Indian Board of Trustees and Michael J Malik Sr. “Secret” plans and artist renditions for a multi- dimensional destination casino with railroad station, hotel, soccer fields, community outreach center and shopping at Belmont Park were unveiled.
After the meeting free Shinnecock Powwow tickets were distributed like coveted rewards by Martins’ and Skelos’ Elmont employees. The admonition to suspend critical inquiry was a prerequisite then and now. “Don’t make waves. Don’t ask tough questions…. Remember, they [powerful investors] have the money and they could spend it anywhere.”
Those who dared to ask the tough questions were escorted out or denied entry to the “Public Library”. Then and now those thinkers are marginalized as unstable; negative do "nothingers" and worse – they are setup as scapegoats, distractions and fall guys for failed Republican ideas.
So, do you know that the Soccer Field of Dreams is wholly in the 9th Senate District? Have you, 9thSenate District subjects, received any communication from Senator, Dean Skelos about the Soccer Field of Dreams?
- http://www.esoccer.eu and http://www.inventions.org/culture/ancient/soccer.html
- http://www.athleticscholarships.net/history-of-cricket.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_cricket
- Facebook threads: https://www.facebook.com/carl.achille/posts/145838345570778?comment_id=358443 and