Blog Entry

What's at stake: Islanders arena vote on Aug. 1

Posted on: July 26, 2011 1:46 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 1:52 pm
 

By Brian Stubits

Not since the 1980s have the Islanders seen a day as important as Monday. That's when the people of Long Island will take to the polls to address the issue of a new arena for the Isles.

Owner Charles Wang has been trying for a long time to secure a new place for his team to play, but this is it. He has said this is his final effort, and if the answer is no the team will pack up and move out. Nassau Coliseum just won't cut it anymore for the franchise after serving as its home for 40 seasons.

With only a few days before the vote, now is the time for the media blitz to bring attention to the effort. That's what Wang and the organization are doing for the next few days, campaigning for yes votes. The team website is having a contest for the best fan video, the above video being an example. Even the Blue Oyster Cult is pitching in.

So what exactly are the people of Long Island voting on? From the team's release:

  The plan, 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.

  The construction of a new sports arena, which, in part, hosts hockey season from October to April annually and a minor league ballpark stadium that hosts baseball season from April to October. This approach generates jobs and revenue year round. It is the seed of growing a sports-entertainment destination center in Nassau County.

  The new arena will also host a wide array of first-rate family shows and musical acts, including the circus and large-scale exhibitions. Other various improvements made to the surrounding area may involve the properties at Museum Row and the former Navy property near Nassau Community College.

  New revenue streams created by the new sports and entertainment complex to the tune of $1.2 billion will fill the county coffers and benefit tax payers. Islanders owner Charles Wang, in a unique partnership with the County will completely pay off the new arena, and there will be $403 million in profit for Nassau County.

It all sounds pretty good, but of course there will be taxes that will also contribute to the building. The emotional reaction of raising taxes is the biggest obstacle for the team to fight. Never mind the fact that losing the primary tenant of the arena will cause collateral damage to the area and arena, which will likely require taxes to help with the keep up and lost income.

But like any vote, it has its detractors. Local democrat majorty leader Jay Jacobs has been the biggest foe to the plan, trying to quash it. And in a rare example of when they can agree on money, Tea Party republicans are on the same side as Jacobs in opposition.

From Chris Botta at NYI Point Blank: "A Newsday poll declares that Nassau residents want the Islanders to stay, but 51 percent are against using tax dollars to fund the project. An additional 12 percent of residents are undecided."

With all that said, it's a very scary time for Islanders fans. Right now they are doing all they can to get the vote out, as even displaced fans are doing their part.

As somebody who saw his favorite NBA team relocate, it's never fun to see teams uprooted, let alone ones that have four championships to their credit. Here's hoping the Yes effort prevails.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Comments
kkjyywlpo
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 4:09 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 19, 2007
Posted on: July 28, 2011 9:30 am
 

What's at stake: Islanders arena vote on Aug. 1

I can't see how building a new year round complex would hurt the taxpayers in the long run. If they vote no, they should build the arena in Suffolk County where the old Psych hospital was, not far form where the LI Ducks play. Nassau doesn't deserve them, the team is not the reason for high taxes.

If they move out of state, i will not follow them. Can't be a Ranger/Devils/Philly fan because I will always hate them, so I guess I will root for Buffalo. Sad state of affairs for a once proud franchise.  



Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:10 pm
 

What's at stake: Islanders arena vote on Aug. 1

move them to Atlanta?! Hahaha!! that would be dumbest move in sport history!! Kansas City or Québec will win this bid.

hey Phoenix: you're next!!



Since: Apr 25, 2007
Posted on: July 27, 2011 3:46 pm
 

What's at stake: Islanders arena vote on Aug. 1

As much as I would HATE to see them leave Uniondale, if this vote doesnt pass, my next best hope will be for Wang to relocate them to Atlanta.  There is a very nice arena with a Vacancy sign hanging on it downtown.  Then I could watch my hometown team in my adopted hometown.  Excellent place to watch a hockey game.  And there are a bunch of NYers down here that would enjoy watching hockey live again.  On second thought, the attendance here would probably be as pathetic as the attendence in the Masoleum. 



Since: Jan 2, 2009
Posted on: July 27, 2011 10:53 am
 

What's at stake: Islanders arena vote on Aug. 1

yeah and howbout on aug 2nd if it dont pass people are gonna say no at this point



Since: May 16, 2007
Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:01 pm
 

What's at stake: Islanders arena vote on Aug. 1


I wouldnt hold your breath on QC. They're the one city who may have a worse political climate and less likelihood of an arena than Nassay County.



Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: July 26, 2011 10:30 pm
 

What's at stake: Islanders arena vote on Aug. 1

Francessa was practically begging the Nassau County residents to vote yes on the arena today and with the pathetic job done by the Democratic opposition leader on the radio  today probably helped the Islanders chances of staying on Long Island..



Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: July 26, 2011 7:26 pm
 

What's at stake: Islanders arena vote on Aug. 1

Even IF, and its a BIG IF, this referendum passes, NIFA will have the final say.

I say its 50/50 AT BEST this most recent attempt at attempting a new arena for the Isles comes to fruition.

I think folks in Quebec can start dreaming of a team in 2015. 



Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: July 26, 2011 5:54 pm
 

What's at stake: Islanders arena vote on Aug. 1

At least this is going to a public vote, not some city council meeting like the Yotes were able to finagle. The people that live in the area should decide, not the season seat holders. However, when opposite sides of the political spectrum are in unity, sounds to me like it's a good idea to go along. Special interests are typically at work.



Since: May 16, 2007
Posted on: July 26, 2011 4:13 pm
 

What's at stake: Islanders arena vote on Aug. 1

Mr. Jacobs went on WFAN in NY this afternoon and sounded like a completely uninfomed clown. He's against the arena, yet didnt seem certain as to why exactly? Only citing a few items that the developers and experts have already debunked in terms of revenue and tax impact to residents. It's like he's against the arena solely because the GOP is for it, and as a Dem that's his job? This is seemingly why nothing ever gets accomplished in Long Island politics. Was very confusing and think it did more harm than good for his cause. 

If the vote fails and the Islanders leave in 2015 when the lease is up for a borough of NYC or elsewhere, the Coliseum wont be replaced and that property will become abandoned within a few years. The economic impact to Nassau County to lose that revenue and jobs would be disastrous. There's a lot more at stake with the building than just the Islanders.

Wang is no ngel in all of htis but he already tried it his way where he would develop the entire COliseum property and a new arena and foot the bill himself, but the GOP in the Town of Hempstead shot the idea down because they didnt want the "affordable housing" communities that were part of the development, i.e. influx of tradiitonal Dem voting demographic into the county. 

Welcome to Long Island politics.


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