Islanders’ fate to be voted on Aug. 1

The New York Islanders future on Long Island will be determined Aug. 1.

It is on that day that Nassau County residents will vote on Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s  referendum to authorize a $400 million investment to build a new sports and entertainment arena, minor league baseball stadium and convention center on the land between the Nassau Coliseum and Mitchell Field, Mangano announced in a joint press conference with Islanders owner Charles Wang and Town of Hempstead supervisor Kate Murray Thursday at the Nassau Coliseum.

The Republican County Executive stated that his plan will create “thousands of construction and secondary construction jobs plus thousands of permanent jobs” and generate millions in revenue for the County, while not costing “the taxpayer one single dime.” Mangano also noted that the County will go ahead with its plan to allow the Shinnecock Nation to build a casino at Belmont Park.

Mangano laid in detail his vision for a “partnership” between Nassau County residents, the County, the Islanders and a minor league baseball stadium to be built on the ground where the Coliseum stands as it pertains to financing improvements, before stating that the Islanders will give the county a  fraction of each dollar generated in the building. Furthermore “all contracts to operate county-owned properties in the Hub will require operators to compensate the county.”

He also revealed that, if passed, construction could begin as soon 2012 and would be completed no later than 2015, while Wang said that the deal will keep the Islanders on Long Island until 2045.

Mangano and Wang were cheered by the Islanders fans in attendance, when they weren’t demanding the executives “build it now.” Murray was twice booed by the Islanders fans in attendance when her name was announced. She joked the second time that she is “an Islanders fan, not a Rangers fan.”

Murray has been cast as a villain in the extended will-they-leave-or-will-they-stay? drama. Wang had submitted The Lighthouse Project plan to the County and to the Township in 2007. The County approved the measure but Murray questioned how the project would affect the environment and the quality of life for Town of Hempstead residents.

Wang publicly rebuked Murray in October 2009 for sharing a conversation they had with Newsday. Prior to the 2010-11 season, Wang noted that the Islanders’ lease at the Coliseum expires following the 2014-15 season and that while the franchise’s stated goal is to remain on Long Island, if progress towards a new arena was not made, he would have to listen to other municipalities or potential buyers.  


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