April 30, 2012
Do the Islanders have a Chance to Stay in Nassau County?
Do the Islanders have a chance to stay in Nassau County? As sad as it is to say, the chance that the Islanders will end up leaving their home for the past forty years are greater than ever. Kate Murray this week made a statement that they are unwilling to make the zoning they already approved for the hub larger. What does this mean for the Islanders? It means that any chance of the site being fully developed by private money with an arena in it went out the window. Yes the zoning does allow for an arena in it, but the one thing that everyone in Nassau agrees on is that if the arena is part of the plan it will not be a profitable investment.
How about a public/private partnership to build a new arena? Well Nassau county tried that last summer and it was rejected by the public. The landslide defeat of the August 1st referendum makes it nearly impossible for that. Politicians who want to be reelected into office will never suggest a plan that uses public money after seeing how badly that proposal was defeated.
What does all this mean? It means that Ed Mangano needs to find a plan that will fit into the zoning that won't cost the taxpayers a dime and still be profitable for the developer. What can that plan be? Your guess is as good as mine. He might suggest to renovate the Nassau Coliseum and use Wang's plan from the lighthouse, which only cost 200 million. Asking for a bond of 200 million and creating a similar financial agreement between the county and Wang the arena renovation could be done without costing the taxpayers a dime or at least a lot less. However, that figure of 200 million renovation was generated six years ago, so would it cost the same. Also how would pay if the renovations go over budget. What about the development around the arena? Maybe, Mangano can give Wang the same deal Dolan got from New York City. Dolan owns MSG so he gets all the revenue and the city also made the arena tax exempt. Does anyone see Nassau county doing that? Yeah, neither do I. In my opinion these two suggestion would most likely never happen, because of economic and political reasons.
Ed Mangano must be having many sleepless nights trying to figure out how he can create a plan that will keep the Islanders and make economic sense for everyone. The Islanders fate in Nassau are bleaker than they have ever been and its up to everyone involve to work together if they truly want to keep the Islanders where they belong. If it can't be done then hopefully Suffolk, Queens, or Brooklyn can give the Islanders what Nassau couldn't a stable foundation for the organization.