Nassau County Pushing For Minor League Baseball Team In Uniondale

6,000-Seat Stadium Will Be Part Of Islanders Arena Referendum Vote On Aug. 1

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — You’ve heard about the Subway Series. Well, how about the Expressway Series?

A deal is in the works to bring an independent minor league baseball team to Uniondale‘s Mitchel Athletic Complex. The team would be run by the owner of Suffolk County‘s Long Island Ducks, who are part of the independent Atlantic League.

Nassau County would build the ballpark and make its money back through revenue sharing.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs On The Story

Ducks owner Frank Boulton said he hopes to do for Nassau what he’s done for Suffolk.

“We’ve sold out our ballpark for now 12 years in Suffolk County,” Boulton said. “We have 6,002 seats. We all know there’s 3 million people here on Long Island. There’s plenty of room for another ballpark.”

Nassau County Executive EdwardMangano is asking voters to approve a referendum on Aug. 1 that would allow the county to spend $400 million to build a new home for the Islanders of the NHL and a 6,000-seat baseball stadium. If passed, the deal would need the approval of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority.

“Part of our vision here in Nassau County is to create a sports entertainment destination,” Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

“We look forward to an ‘Expressway Series’ in 2013.”

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports: Expressway Series In 2013?

Legislator Wayne Wink said the deal would unfairly burden the county.

“The possibility of a minor league ballpark, while it’s a nice idea for an entertainment value, at the same time to do it at the cost of the taxpayers I think is a mistake,” Wink said.

A lot of Nassau County residents are also frowning on the deal. They don’t think taxpayers should bear the financial risk.

“Minor league baseball, I love and I enjoy it and I’ve been out to Ducks games, and I just don’t feel that the taxpayers should have to pay that end of it. I think we pay enough,” Ben Miller said.

“The private market ought to be able to price the bonds and, if it were a good deal, the people will buy the bonds. If not, then why should the county go into a bad economic deal?” added Jack Furman of Jericho.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reports: A Burden On Taxpayers?

Desmond Ryan, the executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island, is against the complex. The Association is charging that this isn’t about sports franchises; it’s a real estate deal that will allow Charles Wang, the owner of the Islanders, to sell the property and the team in 10 years for a huge profit.

“This is strictly grandstanding on the part of the county executive in an attempt to put forth the referendum which is basically perpetuating a fraud on the taxpayers of Nassau County,” Ryan said.

Mangano and Bolton said they still have to negotiate how much the county would get from the team in fees, information that might not be available before the referendum.

When asked if he really thinks it’s fair to ask voters without knowing all the financials, Mangano said, “yes, because the concept here going forth and asking the people was intended to be the beginning of the process.”

Depending on who you talk to real estate taxes could go up an average of $58 to $300, which gets mixed reviews.

“I’m all for that,” said Rosemary Scott of Westbury.

“No. No more taxes. We had enough out here already,” Uniondale resident Ed McFadden added. “I’m going to vote no.”

“If it’s going to get more jobs around here I have two young kids and it would be nice to create more jobs,” said Dean Knox of Levittown.

“I think it’s ridiculous. We’re already paying too much already,” said Alfredo Rodriguez of Westbury.

If the referendum goes through and if negotiations with the Ducks are successful a contest would be held to name the new team. “Long Island,” not “Nassau County” would be part of the name.

Do you support bringing a minor league baseball team to Long Island? Let us know below…

More from Marcia Kramer
Comments

One Comment

  1. VY says:

    Nassau is broke. This is not only saddling Nassau tax payers with all the risk, it gives the Islanders a sweethart revenue sharing arrangement (once if ever the county bonds are paid off) that the team will be easily salable at much higher prices than the team is worth now.
    Go ahead Nassau residents, raise your own taxes and future liability risks, for no real gain in the out years.
    And this county executive is a “rebulican”?
    This makes liberals sound fiscally conservative.

    1. lydia says:

      If Wang wants to get a new arena, let him pay the bill. Nobody in Nassau should be fooled by the press statements about how it will pay for itself. The bill for this is a half a billion dollars! That’s not chicken feed.
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  2. ace11 says:

    Here’s an idea

    How about building mor schools or police depts, etc

    productive stuff

    REMEMBER on AUG 1

    VOTE NO to this stupid arena we residents have to fund

    1. karlson says:

      Productive is not the point. You can build it if you can afford it. If you’re broke, you can’t afford anything. Nassau County is broke. Why shoulder the residents with debt on top of the existing debt? Nassau County just laid off civil service employees. There may be more rounds of layoffs within the county government? Who are they going to lay off next, the police?

      Notice this referendum is a sneaky way of getting this done when most people are away on vacation instead of doing it in the open on Election Day. It also will cost plenty to have a separate election? Guess who pays that extra cost of the special election on August 1? If you said the taxpayers you guessed right.

  3. Wig Wam Willie says:

    “But a lot of Nassau County residents frown on the deal. They don’t think taxpayers should bear the financial risk.”

    That’s okay – Mangano will just send the bill to CITY residents. We already have to head east to visit our tax dollars, so what’s a few more?

    1. karlson says:

      What? Send what bill to what city residents? NY city will not pay for this new arena. The county residents will get saddled with the cost.

      1. Wig Wam Willie says:

        Don’t worry – They’ll find a way to stick us with it.

  4. mully says:

    OK Mr. Mangano…sure we will pay and while ur at it vote yourself a raise since the real Nassau County Executive Al Damato wil never vote…oh by the way the new stadium will be named Alfonses House Right?…

  5. lina says:

    Long island ducks..really???

  6. bob says:

    Karlson is on the mark. JUST VOTE NO AUG 1st This may send even more people packing up and leaving LI

    1. karlson says:

      Bob, if they don’t leave NY, they surely will leave Nassau!

  7. ct fam says:

    This is a very one-sided report. 4 quoted in opposition to the project and NOT ONE quoted in favor of it. Let’s be fair in our reporting please. The ABLI is an association of builders who are bitter that they did not get another opportunity to develop the site. Mr. Wink seems to disregard the fact that if the Islanders and the Coliseum cease to exist, thousands will lose their jobs, tax revenue will be lost, and families will lose a facility that brings world-class entertainment to LI.

  8. ct fam says:

    This is a very one-sided report. $ quoted in opposition to the project and NOT ONE quoted in favor of it. Let’s be fair in our reporting please. The ABLI is an association of builders who are bitter that they did not get another opportunity to develop the site. Mr. Wink seems to disregard the fact that if the Islanders and the Coliseum cease to exist, thousands will lose their jobs, tax revenue will be lost, and families will lose a facility that brings world-class entertainment to LI.

  9. Tim says:

    I find it amazing that we on long Island have only one pro sports team and thats the islanders..Iv heard so much venom spewed by nassau county residents who feel there taxes will go up even though they havnt taken the time to look at the whole picture..Iv heard blowhards on the radio like Mike francessa rail against a new home for the islanders purely for selfish reasons He is a nassau county resident and by his own admission coulod care less about the Islandfers yet he feels the need to have a negative impact on this vote…Please all i ask is that you get your facts before you vote

    1. karlson says:

      It was the Yankees who built a new stadium, not the taxpayers. Same with the Mets. Nassau County is broke and just laid off civil servants in what is surely the first round of layoffs. Do you really think the taxpayers are this dumb to not understand that a sports franchise is not theirs to be paid for?

      If Wang wants to get a new arena, let him pay the bill. Nobody in Nassau should be fooled by the press statements about how it will pay for itself. The bill for this is a half a billion dollars! That’s not chicken feed.

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