Both Sides Try To Set Tone Ahead Of Nassau Coliseum Renovation Vote

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – As Nassau County voters get ready to head to the polls on Monday to vote for or against the proposed $400 million Coliseum renovation project, both proponents and opponents are jockeying to win over public sentiment.

Listen: Islanders owner Charles Wang with WFAN’s Mike Francesa

Listen: Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs with Francesa

The Association for a Better Long Island hopes that voters will say “no way.” Desmond Ryan, of the organization, said that if the proposal is approved it “would guarantee real property tax increases for the next thirty years and all of this because of a hockey team.”

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On Long Island

However, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano cautioned against a “no” vote for his proposal.  With the possibility that the Islanders could move elsewhere if the renovation isn’t approved, he told 1010 WINS Thursday that such a scenario would hurt the county’s revenue and could lead to higher taxes as a result.

“We’ve allowed companies like Canon to remove out of our borders, OSI [Pharmaceuticals] to move out of this county.  We lost those jobs and those dollars that were spent here.  The Jets practicing here — that was an economic hit to our county when they left us,” Mangano said.

Mangano also argued that the deal has safeguards against the risk of the county getting stuck paying the full bill.

Related: Capellini Calls On Youth To Support Coliseum Bill

“The deal recognizes the fact that the residents will receive eleven and a half percent of all the economic activity that goes on in that building, exclusive of television rights.  So you sell a pretzel, eleven and a half percent comes back to the county.  You sell a ticket, eleven and a half percent comes back to the county,” Mangano said.

Ryan said he just cannot comprehend why the public should pay to renovate the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to help the hockey team owned by billionaire Charles Wang.

“The Islanders want a new building, they deserve a new building, the taxpayers should not be the ones who should be forced to pay for it,” Ryan said.

The Islanders believe the proposal, which includes a new arena to be constructed at the Nassau Coliseum site as well as a minor league ballpark, will generate 4,500 jobs and $403 million in profit for tax relief for Nassau County residents.

If the plan is voted down, however, many expect the Islanders to move. Ryan, however, is skeptical.

“I think if the Islanders want a stadium, then the Islanders should pay for it,” Ryan said. “If the Islanders want to leave the biggest media capital of the planet, then so be it. But I think it is highly unlikely.”

Where do you stand on the issue? Let us know below…

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  • Vick

    If Ryan really knew long island he would know the islanders are a big part of it and that they won’t stay since the vote is rejected. Also $13 a month is not alot considering the other things we waste our taxes on. If Ryan truly wanted a better long island he should fix those tax problems first and realize the islanders and all the other performances at the coliseum would eventually help revenue in Nassau one of the few taxes we pay that would help.

  • Nick

    Why should the public have to pay a bill to help construct an arena where they have to pay to get in?I guess with all the great spending decisions the county has made,we should feel confident?(42 million dollar deficit).vote no!

  • joe d

    thunderstorms gives us warnings earthquakes don’t like dodger stadium 600 milliion renovation that’s frank mccourt

  • Joe Meatball

    I think it makes perfect sense for taxpayers to pay for a billionaire’s folly. Frankly, we should enjoy an increase in taxes to fund a complex whose events we will be priced out of attending.

  • T

    No thanks, look how well maintained the present arena is, and for what the Islanders?

  • Andy

    It’s not just the Islanders (Wang “arranged” to have the Lighthouse plan rejected???? Wow!!!! Really????) It’s the Circus, It’s Disney, It’s Sesame Street, it’s all the Expos they have in a year, it’s the concerts. Approximately 180 dates a year that the Coliseum is open would be shuttered without its main tenant. How does Nassau County cope without the Nassau Coliseum’s income? Vote YES on August 1.

    • Lawn-Guy Land

      What income? Wang will KEEP ALL OF IT.

      Do you really believe that he intends to honor his agreements? Do you really believe that he won’t deduct from his payments every expense he has ever incurred in his entire career? If you believe all that (or pretend to), then there’s a bridge for sale in Brooklyn.

      Plus, if the entire County economy really depends on one facility and one sports franchise, then Nassau is even worse off than I thought.

  • KPMc

    There is already an arena going up in Brooklyn without a hockey team. Brooklyn is geographically part of long island as well as NYC.

    If this was about a place for the team to play it would be a no-brainer but it is about a free land grab.

  • Suffolk resident

    You can thamnk Kate Murray. He would have built his lighthouse project and created lots of jobs and revenue for local businesses but she said NO. Now you need to vote yes in order to try to save your county. Only morons that dont understand hockey or are new york rags fans would say No. I say you vote yes to the sports complex, or send Mr Wang to Suffolk where we would love to see him bring the lighthouse project. If you want to vote No, Vote No to Kate MUrray!

  • dan


    Keep the Islanders in Nassau and make sure one of the wealthiest counties in America keeps an arena so we don’t have to go to MSG/the city to watch a concert of professional sporting event.

  • BOB

    All I can say is this is FLIM FLAM AT ITS’ BEST Vote NO VOTE NO etc……………………………..

  • OVERtaxed and Ignored

    Prices are too darn high for any event in that place, $20 to park a car, $7 for cotton candy, $10 for draft beer, c’mon fellow tax payers enough is enough, I make a good living (well I thought I did) and my taxes are way to high, How about we vote for a new building built with concessions from the UNION employees of the county? Anyone who makes their living on the backs of the tax payers should have their salary and benefits adjusted to MEET the same declining salary’s and benefits of the taxpayers themselves, enough is enough, Stop the Bleeding I can not afford to pay anymore taxes on a house that is worth 30% less then this COUNTY taxes me on.

    • Lawn-Guy Land

      “Prices are too darn high for any event in that place, $20 to park a car, $7 for cotton candy, $10 for draft beer….”

      That’s how Wang will get the money that he’ll use to NOT pay back the County.

  • Jeff

    Nassau county taxpayers dont be swindled by this crook…you think you will make a profit for a team no one goes to see then u deserve to be bankrupt…

    remember the state is controlling your finances becasue you cant control your spending….wang is a crook and he will not pay you back…look at him on TV interviews…

  • Lawn-Guy Land

    The history of public sports financing shows quite clearly that taxpayers will be 100% on the hook because Wang WON’T pay back anything. He DOESN’T INTEND to pay back anything. The County will let him “forget” to pay it back, or else let him first deduct every expense he’s ever had in his life.

  • JV

    I think all that Mr. Ryan and the ABLI care about is that THEY get the rights to build whatever for their CRONIES so they can profit. That’s really all this is about.

    And if he thinks the Islanders won’t leave Nassau County, then he is wrong.

    Also, its not a renovation projects, its a new arena.

    Also, the Islanders only play 41 dates at the arena. The arena is used for 120+ dates. It is used for family events, concerts, other sporting events, etc.

    If a new arena is built you will probably see NCAA Basketball, NCAA Tournament basketball, college hockey games, more name-brand artists, etc.

    This isn’t just about the ISLANDERS, its about concerts, etc.

  • Kevin A

    WE should not have to pay for the Coliseum but thanks to the Liberals we have to to save our team. Mr Wang was going to pay to have the entire area rebuilt but Kate Murray single handedly shot that down. Since our politicians will not let the owner spend his money we are stuck saving our team!

    • Flynn

      You know Murray’s a GOPer right, Kevin?

      • Dale Auburn

        I know that Queens taxes are lower – where do you think I live?

        (Hint: Look at screen name. Now look at a LIRR map.)

      • The kid who hit Dale in school

        Dale Auburn you were the kid who got beat up in school I can tell And queens taxes are 70%cheaper so no need to complain.But bottom line is if you cant afford to live there move.

    • Lawn-Guy Land

      Wang probably “arranged” to have his prior plan rejected specifically to justify using taxpayer dollars. If he really intended to pay for it himself, he would simply draw from his own vast fortune without borrowing from anybody.

      • Dale Auburn

        I got news for you…

        [1] Queens IS part of Long Island (physically, if not socially). So is Brooklyn.

        [2] Nassau used to be the eastern 70% of Queens.

      • Do you need cheese with ur whine

        Bottom line is Nassau Coliseum is a sh-t hole .With all the jobs and money the new project will make you have to be a idiot to go against it.If you cant afford to live in long island move to queens and enjoy the mets.

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