From what to do with both the large and small businesses that called the “Iron Triangle” home to what to build there once the property is cleared and remediated, the proposal has always been a political morass.
Since Mayor Michael Bloomberg was able to negotiate a deal and get it approved in 2008, really the only thing that has been “accomplished” is dismantling many of the small auto repair businesses at Willets Point.
Things got even more complicated when the city announced it would hand over the parking lot of Citi Field for a construction of a mega-mall, the revenue from which would be used to fund the larger development at Willets Point.
Unfortunately for the city, the parking lot is technically parkland and that move is being challenged in court.
In the meantime, the shiny new mixed-use neighborhood at Willets Point with close to 2,000 units of affordable housing isn't any closer to a reality.
Now there is talk of scrapping the plan altogether and building a soccer stadium.
And frustration among some community groups is growing.
Bearing the brunt of that frustration lately is Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras of Corona, beginning with a press conference by her predecessor Hiram Monserrate, in which he placed the blame for the stalled project squarely on her.
Then last week, a group calling itself the Women of East Elmhurst Corona Alliance braved the cold to protest outside a women's empowerment event Ferreras was hosting at Citi Field. It was not lost on the protestors that a partner in Queens Development Group also owns Citi Field.
Protestors went so far as to call for an investigation by the city's Conflict of Interest Board!
“We need affordable housing in this community and not cocktail parties by self-promoting politicians who have curried favor with developers,” alliance member Melanie Gijon said in a harsh statement.
We're not sure how all of this is going to end up; there seems to be a growing groundswell among elected officials and business groups for a soccer stadium. Meanwhile, the lawsuit will be heard by an Appellate Court next month.
As for Ferreras, we have to believe there is some behind-the-scenes political maneuvering to make her out to be the fall gal for the failed project, which leads us to believe that things are going to get much more contentious for her before this whole thing gets straightened out once and for all.