Residents Divided Over New Nassau Coliseum Proposal
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UNIONDALE, NY (CBSNewYork) – In an 11th hour push to get Nassau County residents to vote yes on a new coliseum, Brian Rosenberg of the Long Island Restaurant Association staged a pep rally for the cause at Lido Beach.
The $400 million referendum would include a new home for the New York Islanders, a new coliseum and a Minor League Baseball park on the 77-acre site where the current dilapidated Nassau Coliseum now stands.
“Is it perfect? There’s no such thing as perfect right now, especially in the county, but millions and millions of dollars in tax revenue would be lost if we sit back and keep debating,” Rosenberg said.
WCBS 880′s Mike Xirinachs reports: Rally Is Final Public Push For New Nassau Coliseum
Monday’s special election will decide the fate of the project. Voters will decide if the county should borrow $400 million for a new Nassau Coliseum and a minor-league baseball stadium.
Several polling locations have changed due to school construction. To find your polling place, click HERE.
Islanders’ owner Charles Wang says he’ll move the team without a new arena.
“I think we have to face the reality of the situation,” he said. “We don’t have a place to play anymore because come 2015, our lease expires. We have to have a place to play, so we’re out of options basically.”
The upcoming vote has become a heated subject of debate among Nassau County residents and politicians.
“Nassau County is effectively bankrupt. They have too much debt. They can’t pay their bills. So it flies in the logic of them going to borrow $400 million to build a stadium,” said Clifford Sondock of the Land Use Institute.
The plan with interest would cost each homeowner about $58, though County Exec. Ed Mangano estimates it will cost homeowners $13.80, based on revenue sharing from sales, hotel and entertainment taxes, and the creation of more than 1,500 construction jobs and 3,040 permanent jobs.
“The best social program we can have is a private sector job opportunity, and that’s what we’re trying to create,” Mangano said.
Some voters aren’t buying it.
“I’m a resident in East Meadow, near the coliseum, love hockey, I don’t want to pay for it,” said resident Irwin Kahn.
“For the Island, for the people, not just for the team, for everybody I think it’s the best thing. We need to approve this,” said Amy Zaum of West Hempstead.
Even if the measure passes on Monday, the Nassau County legislature and the Nassau Interim Finance Authority still have to approve the new complex.
NIFA, which controls the county’s finances, says approving the project could result in a four percent property tax hike and put the county in conflict with the state’s new two percent property tax cap law.
Nassau officials argue that the cost of the project would be offset by the revenue generated by the facility.
What do you think of the Nassau Coliseum renovation vote? Sound off in the comments section below…