Willets Point plan angers residents

August 13, 2008 4:04:43 PM PDT
It's surprising there is this much anger over the mayor's plan. The plan would revitalize a neighborhood next to Shea Stadium, including new shops, jobs and apartments.

"We're going to fight this all the way through," Dan Feinstein said. "If necessary, we'll go all the way to the Supreme Court."

Feinstein owns an iron works company in Willets Point. He fears the city would use eminent domain -- the power to take land by force.

"There is a place for eminent domain. What the city is trying to do is negotiate a fair deal with everybody there," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The mayor's plan for this part of Queens seem to be moving along just fine, but now 31 council members have signed a letter in opposition. That letter says council members are "deeply disappointed." They predict in council the plan faces a "doomed fate."

Opponents shouted so much during a demonstration on Wednesday that supporters were livid. One woman told the protestors to back off. Another said the protest would "not make a damn bit of difference." At one point, they became so frustrated that they began chanting back at the protestors.

The demonstrators refused to quiet down. They promise more trouble if that threat of eminent domain remains.

"This is America. The America that I know protects property rights of American citizens. New York City is still part of America," Councilman Hirman Monserrat said.

With so much opposition, the mayor's idea seems dead, but his team said not so fast.

"Of course I don't like it, but I am going to help them understand what is going on," Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. "I think it could pass. I could pass on its merits."

The council votes in November.

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