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Islanders: The Clock is Ticking

Tuesday's legislative meeting boasts plenty of opinions, but little progress.

Urgency to build a new Coliseum was conveyed at Tuesday's Nassau Legislature Economic and Community Development and Labor meeting.

"We have to make a decision on the Coliseum," New York Islanders Senior Vice President and Alternate Governor Michael Picker pleaded in front of the legislature.

Picker was joined by local politicians and labor officials who urged redevelopment at Nassau's HUB before time runs out.

Several ideas were traded, from state and federal funding to public funding from Nassau residents — on a smaller scale from last summer's proposal.

The idea of public funding might seem insane to Nassau residents, who handily defeated a public referendum on Aug. 1, 2011 to fund a new Coliseum, but according to Picker and Richard Bivone, chairman of the LI Business Council, public funding is necessary.

"The numbers don't work without public [funding]," Bivone said.

Outspoken Nassau residents have also suggested Islanders owner Charles Wang pay for a new Coliseum, but President of the Long Island Regional Planning Council John Cameron, who Legis. Denise Ford, R-Long Beach, heralded as a "voice of reason" during today's session, said residents need to be more mindful that Wang owns the Islanders, not the Coliseum.

"We can’t forget that this is still a county-owned facility," Cameron said. "… For this to be successful, we need a hybrid [development]."

Cameron's concept of a "hybrid" development involves getting as much money as possible from both public and private entities.

Despite all of the ideas being suggested, at the end of the legislative session, urgency still reigned supreme. Deputy County Executive Rob Walker and Legis. Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick, both agreed that in order to have a realistic shot at building a new arena and revitalizing the HUB, a decision should be made by the end of 2012.

Picker continued to stress that while the Islanders will not pinpoint an exact deadline, Walker and Denenberg's point was fairly accurate.

"Time is of the essence," Picker said. "… We have to make a decision soon."

James M. February 20, 2012 at 01:58 PM
You'd have to get all the diehard Republicans to vote with you since Nassau has had only one Democratic gov't in 30 years. Too many people vote a party line in Nassau without listening to what the politician is going to do for Nassau.
Mac February 20, 2012 at 02:06 PM
James you are correct that the NHL must approve the move however the NHL cannot force an owner or franchise to stay in one location and lose money unless the NHL is willing to buy the team like in Phoenix. All local options must be considered before a move similar to that in Atlanta back to winnepeg. Bettman has already said that getting more teams in canada is a priority because attendance is high there but he also mentioned the NHL has a desire to keep the Islanders in the NY market. AND I agree 100% too many people vote on party lines but also now we have too many voting just to get everyone out. That is why we have Mangano.
Business Man February 24, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Most of the people who do vote in local elections vote along party lines. There are also a great number of people who want LI to look like it did 100 years ago. Geez, how do some politicians, with some of the most ridiculous records, get re-elected by landslides time after time.These folks want no development of any kind, because it ruins "our suburban character". What a crock! What they refuse to realize are many of the things pointed out by many of the bloggers-there are economic impacts to lack of development that are very serious. In25 years, we will look like Detroit, barren spaces, with few jobs. Thank all the NIMBYS, when it happens.
Anthony Centola February 25, 2012 at 09:32 PM
For all of you who didn't vote yes on August 1 because you were afraid of higher taxes, what do you think will happen when the Islanders leave Nassau and the Coliseum is completely abandoned. There will be no revenue from that property, and who do you think will be forced to make it up?
Mac February 25, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Anthony I have been saying this for months. The political parties will blame each other and we will get stuck with the bill. If they all couldve sat down and figured it out together we wouldve never had a hastily put together incomplete plan to vote on. I hope I am wrong and the arena will attract shows etc...to generate revenue but I firnly believe if the islanders leave the building will be shut down within 5 years or less and we will pay more than what the estimated cost wouldve been and have nothing to show for it but another empty lot on the turnpike. Our politicians continue to let us down because they put their allginace to their parties ahead of us.

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