With the Environmental Protection Agency withdrawing its objections to the American Dream Meadowlands project and a New Jersey judge dismissing Big Blue and Gang Green owners' lawsuit to stop the construction, it looks like diehard football fans are the losers.
"I applaud the Environmental Protection Agency for looking at the American Dream project objectively and removing their initial objections to construction, all while fulfilling their objective of protecting, preserving and rehabilitating our country's environment," Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. said in a statement.
Pardon me, Mr. Congressman, if I don’t join in the celebration. I am more concerned with traffic snarls (both on game days and during the week) and the impact to the quality of life for those unlucky enough to live in that area when construction begins and hopefully concludes ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII.
My 2 cents, though, are in direct conflict with Bergen County Superior Court Judge Peter Doyne, who threw out the Giants and Jets lawsuit last week, calling it impulsive since it has not received the go ahead from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
“Without knowing what the final, approved proposal will be, the court cannot decide whether it will cause adverse effects to plaintiffs,” Doyne wrote in his decision.
Doyne isn’t necessarily wrong, though. Maybe the Giants, Jets, and me are jumping to conclusions. But if that is true, then aren’t those so excited about the jobs this project will create also jumping the gun. For the record, I am not against the roughly 19,000 jobs this project will create – as long as those jobs go to New Jersey-based workers and aren’t given to low-balled out-of-state contractors. That would just be an unnecessary slap in the face.
Located just 10 miles west of New York City, the proposed mall is now being developed by the Alberta, Canada-based Triple Five, owners of the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta and the Mall of America near Minneapolis. Its plans include building a 3-million square foot megamall filled with shops, restaurants, nightclubs, a 26-screen movie theater and 3,000-seat performing arts theater, indoor glass-domed amusement and water parks, a skating rink and a ski slope with real snow.
With a proposed $350 million tax break, Triple Five has to be pretty excited with the EPA’s decision and dismissal of the lawsuit.
I wonder if all the people electrified with the scope of the American Dream Meadowland project would feel the same if businesses in nearby Paramus Park Mall, Garden State Park Mall and Willowbrook Mall decided to close and reopen in a one-stop shopping location.
Layoffs, which are bound to occur if stores, restaurants and other businesses decide American Dream Meadowlands is the only place they need to be, won’t help improve Jersey’s employment scene. The Garden State nearly matched its record-high unemployment rate, 9.9 percent set in April 1977, last month.
There I go getting ahead of myself again. Maybe I just need to focus on what is important today.
Now go Big Blue! Beat the Jets!