Mangano: NY Voters To Decide On Plan For New Islanders Arena

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Officials on Long Island will ask voters this summer to approve a $400 million plan to build a new hockey arena next to the current home of the Islanders.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano announced plans Wednesday to replace the aging Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum with a new arena next door. The plan requires $350 million in bonding over 30 years. Voters also will be asked to approve $50 million in bonds for a minor league baseball park nearby.

Mangano insisted that revenue from the Islanders and sales tax generated by the new arena would be enough to repay the $400 million in bonds over the course of a new 30-year lease for the team, although neither he nor Islanders owner Charles Wang offered specifics on the financial arrangement.

1010 WINS’ Mona rivera reports: Crowds Chant “Build It Now”

If approved, the proposal will keep the NHL team on Long Island until 2045, Mangano said at a raucous news conference Wednesday. The event at the nearly 40-year-old arena featured several hundred union workers in the grandstands chanting “build it now,” as well as a smattering of Islanders fans decked out in the team’s blue and orange jerseys.

The Islanders’ current lease at the coliseum expires in 2015.

Mangano joined WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Wednesday to outline the plan. “This gives an opportunity to invest in our county.”

Listen: Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano With Mike Francesa

“Redeveloping the hub is critical to creating jobs in our county and stimulating the local economy,” said Mangano. “With the support of business and community leaders, I am advancing a county-wide public referendum. This referendum will allow residents to decide whether we should build a sports-entertainment destination at the site of Nassau Coliseum that retains our Islanders, construct a minor league ballpark and create thousands of jobs.”

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The proposal is the latest in a series of efforts to renovate the coliseum and 77 acres of prime real estate surrounding the arena.

“Without a new arena, we will lose the Islanders, shutter the aging Coliseum and besides losing present jobs, will lose the currently substantial economic benefits including all the existing arena and secondary jobs,” Mangano said. “The construction of a new home for the Islanders and the redevelopment of the Coliseum site will generate thousands of construction and secondary construction jobs plus thousands of permanent jobs.”

He repeatedly insisted that no taxpayer money would be used to finance the project. The county, which is facing a $176 million budget deficit, is under the thumb of a state fiscal watchdog, which has approval over most contracts and other deals involving county finances. The watchdog, the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, did not immediately comment on the coliseum proposal.

“The New York Islanders, and the arena, will contribute a significant part of their revenue streams to pay for our new, iconic venue,” Wang said.

“The intention and plan is not to cost the taxpayer a single dime,” Mangano said.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports: Keeping The Islanders At Home

Islanders owner Charles Wang proposed an ambitious $3.8 billion development in 2003, but it never got off the ground.

“It has been a long journey to get to this point and I am extremely confident that a new home for the Islanders will be built and a destination location will be achieved,” said Wang. “Building a new home for our NY Islanders is critical to the future of Long Island and its only professional sports team. The fans deserve it, and our local economy needs it.”

Pending approval from the county legislature, the referendum would be set for August 1.

Some business owners said they fully supported the new plan.

“I think it’s a smart move – the community needs it,” Phil Craft, of Coliseum Deli, told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Some taxpayers, though, weren’t as excited, worrying about how the project would be paid for – and the inevitable crush of traffic the new arena project would bring.

“I am totally against it,” Lois Vanvorst said.

“The traffic – you wouldn’t be able to go on the Hempstead Turnpike,” Rase Denny said.

Mangano, who had previously discussed placing a casino on the 77-acre coliseum site in the heart of the county, changed direction Wednesday and said officials would now begin negotiating with the Shinnecock Indian tribe to possibly open a gambling casino at Belmont Park Race Track in Elmont.

Shinnecock tribal chairman Randy King, who was in the audience for the news conference, said the tribe is willing to consider several options for a casino on Long Island but did not commit to any specific location. He welcomed the opportunity to discuss a casino plan for the racetrack, which is located just over the New York City line and is accessible by a number of major highways, as well as a Long Island Rail Road station. There are no rail connections at the coliseum site.

When asked if the Belmont option would make the deal more palatable, King was non-committal.

“I’m not going to go that far, but the county exec. is making a compelling argument, and we are excited by it,” he said.

The tribe concluded a decades-long battle last year for federal recognition, a prerequisite for any tribe wishing to operate a casino. Leaders of the Southampton-based Shinnecock have conceded it is unlikely they would open a casino on their native land on far eastern Long Island, and have begun negotiations with elected officials in several locations about where to place a casino, or casinos.

What do you want to see happen to the Nassau Coliseum site? Sound off below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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  • Grouchy1959

    Vote NO and let the Islanders go !!!!! – The soon the better.

  • jay

    Mangano and his corrupt regime need to shut up and stop trying to bancrupt the county or saddle taxpayers with debt. Don’t beleive his lies and it being paid for via future revenue. I truly hope that billionaire Wang takes the team to Brooklyn or Queens because judging by attendance, Long Islanders are done with them. Its time to sell that property to private developers and let them build single family homes and be done with it so that future sleazy politicians

  • marx engels

    Hey Mangano – you say that there is no money for the Long Island Bus, no money for anything, but plenty of money for B U S I N E S S and G A M B L I N G!!All your rich contractor friends and developers who want to build, go build more housing for the people at YOUR EXPENSE, and the government or Habitat will buy first-class materials. Nassau County homeprices are rising while the rest of the country is languishing. Rich Nassau constituents PAY YOUR FAIR SHARE OF TAXES. We do not need new arenas or casinos, we need more housing for the people.

  • KPMc

    There is already a new arena going up in Brooklyn, which is still part of LI at least geographically speaking. From what I understand relocation payments to the Rangers wouldn’t be needed as that is already covered by their previous payments.

    But my guess is this is more about a land grab and a way for Charlie to line his pockets with public dough.

    It’s being built… they should come!

  • Pat

    Idiots, Wang tried to finance this himself and was shot down by Murray! Your taxes won’t go up to pay for the bond.

  • Dominick Mezzapesa

    If this deal goes through
    Winners= Politicians, Unions and Wang
    Losers= The public

    They claim this will get paid in 30 years…EXCUSE me they said that about the meadowlands when they built that hockey arena.

    Anyone who lives in Nassau and have seen 1st hand all the corruption that has been going on, knows this will never be built for $350 million, but once they spend $1 then they claim “we’ll we already started building it, but the cost will now be $500 million…sorry”

    Who will pay for these over runs? Who is going to show us that the money is actually getting paid back?

    Why can’t Wang just go to a bank and get a 30 year loan?I

    f the Unions think this will pass, they netter not hold their breath

    • karlson

      Why can’t Wang just go to a bank and get a 30 year loan?

      In business, you never use your own money – you use other people’s money. That way, if the business goes bust, you’ve lost nothing.

  • JD

    why does Nassau County have to put up any money at all, do we as Nassau County residents get to share in the profits?

  • G

    If you vote no, your taxes will go up anyway because you just lost a sports franchise and tax base it provides…not to mention jobs and ecomonic benefits lost thereafter. Cities like Seattle and Los Angeles are hurting from the pro-teams they lost and so was Cleveland, Charlotte and Minneapolis until they were awarded new franchises again. Sports Franshises are a huge contributor to the area they’re in. Long Island only has one pro sports team. Lose it and the consequences will not be good.

    • Scott

      Amen to that!!!

      This needs to pass, this must pass!!

      If this fails it will prove that nothing will ever be able to get done on LI and that people are ok with living in the 1950’s in the year 2011.

      BUILD IT NOW!!

  • Dominick Mezzapesa

    Anyone claiming this will create jobs is just trying to fool the voters. First this will create some short term jobs but that is all. The same people working the Coliseum now will work at the new coliseum so no other long term jobs will get created.

    This will produce some short term 1 to 2 year jobs and that’s all. The only ones that will benefit will be the union workers, the mob, and the politicians.

    Anyone thinking the final price tag will be $400 million is a moron.

  • bob g

    wong should pay up if he needs a new stadium mets and yankees had to why should my taxes go up anymore than it alresdy is.

  • Joe K.

    I think this deal is a good one because the County gets to “revenue share” with the Islanders which will pay for the bond that needs to be voted on. I also think the Lighthouse Project sounded better but who knows what was in the details that made the town officials balk at the idea? Remember the devil is in the details and I heard from a former Suozzi official that the LHP wasn’t a good deal for the County. This new deal is a win-win for the Islanders and the County and this is coming from a Rangers fan. Nobody wants to see the Isles leave Nassau County!

    • karlson

      This new deal is a win-win for the Islanders and the County and this is coming from a Rangers fan.

      Sounds rather selfish and self serving. What about every other non-hockey fan?

      The truth is that when the Isles were winning and getting their 4 consecutive Stanley Cups, every seat in the house was sold. If the Isles could win, you wouldn’t have any trouble selling tickets! Case closed.

  • tomcat

    ENOUGH ALREADY……Teams make Money, Pay Ridiculous saleries, Charge Ridiculous prices for Tickets and Expect citizens in the midst of a recession to pay for a new stadium ? NO WAY

  • concerned citizen

    In the long run, Nassau will be better off for having a world class sports and conference destination. I really hope this gets done.

  • lee

    This falls on the citizens of Nassau County not stepping up to vote out the old school GOP thats crippling Nassau esp. Town of Hempstead. We had our chance not to pay a dime for this but we blew it.


    The dead convicted felon in the Bronx got his taxpayer funded steakhouse ballpark with no public vote. The fraud in Queens got his Brooklyn Dodgers wet dream where no taxpayer got a say. The joke Garden got it’s 1981 tax exemption for life to keep the Knicks and Rags from moving and the public had no voice. The taxpayer in New Jersey are still paying for the first Giant Stadium bonds and were never asked and now have to pay infrastructure on another one and Newark built the Devils an arena to go with whatever the Nets receive.

    None of those taxpayers were given a choice or vote on any of those projects. Either Nassau pays now or they pay even more later.

    • Scott

      Great post!!

  • Louis Sepulveda

    Nassau County is broke and now residents need to fork over 400 million to build an arena that is 40% filled when the Islanders play. Let Wang pay for the arena and keep the tax payers out of it.

  • HockeyRanter

    Nassau residents are so selfish, they’ll never consider the jobs and future growth this project will create. Without something to keep young people living and working here, this place will continue to deteriorate.

  • Isles stay home

    GET IT DONE, GET IT DONE! ! ! The Islanders need to stay in their home!!!! LI can’t afford to lose them!

  • Keith

    If you think spending $400 million dollars on an arena in the most expensive county in the United States is a smart financial deal, then the taxpayers of Nassau county get what they deserve…think about it..youre gonna subsidize a billionaire and give him money when he should build it himself….plus once the arena is done he will go back to his old ways of never spending money on the team, trading star players…dont fall for it Nassau Co.

  • Ryan Brandle

    Please don’t be so short sided.

    I, personally, have been hoping for this day for some time. As an under-employed college grad. whose been scratching-out a living to stay on Long Island, I think this is really the first momentous step towards living, working, and enjoying a better L.I. both today and tomorrow. I’ll definitely be tuning in, at 11am, to hear the announcement.

  • D

    Doesn’t Nassau County have enough money problems right now?

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