Nassau Coliseum: County says ‘No’ to new Islanders arena

A few thousand fans turned out at Nassau Coliseum for a rally to support the stadium prior to the vote.

The clock officially began ticking on the  Islanders’ time in Nassau County late Monday night.

Nassau County residents voted down Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s $400 million bond 57 percent to 43 percent. The Islanders’ lease at the Nassau Coliseum expires following the 2014-15 season and owner Charles Wang has been adamant that the Islanders will not play in the current building once the agreement is up.

“I’m disappointed. To put it bluntly I’m heartbroken,” Wang said when he and Mangano met reporters Monday night. Wang was seconded by General Manager Garth Snow and Senior Advisor to the General Manager and Assistant Coach Doug Weight. Neither Wang nor Mangano took questions from the media.

“I feel that sound bites rule the day and not the facts,” Wang added.

The Coliseum is the second oldest active arena in the National Hockey League. Wang estimated in an interview with WFAN last week that the building is used only 120 times a year. He suggested a new building — akin to Newark’s Prudential Center or Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center — could be in use at least 200 times a year. The Coliseum seats 16,250 for hockey and 18,000 for non-hockey events. Wang estimated that a new building could seat 17,500 for hockey and 19,000 for non-hockey events. The Islanders finished last in the NHL in attendance last season, with an average of 11,059.

Under Mangano’s plan — which he had repeatedly termed “a partnership” with the Islanders —  the County and the franchise would build a state of the art sports and entertainment venue, a minor league baseball stadium and a convention center on the 77 acres on which the Coliseum stands. He was also fervent in his belief that the project would create jobs and revenue. An analysis by the Bureau for Labor Employment published in April reported Nassau County has 6.3 percent unemployment.

But Mangano’s plan was criticized for a lack of clarity on how much the arena would cost local residents. The County Executive suggested costs would cap out at $400 million. But he could not articulate exactly how much the individual household would pay in additional property taxes.

A recent study by non-partisan tax research group, the Tax Foundation, said Nassau County residents pay an average of $8,206 a year in property taxes.

Mangano implied that there was a contingency strategy if the bond vote was shot down in a brief discussion with Metro during last week’s joint County-Islanders rally to create public support for the plan at the Coliseum.

“We would have to explore other options. Obviously there is other property here but this option that keeps the Islanders and builds on this concept of a great sports and entertainment destination,” Mangano said. “It’s the ability to save 2,100 jobs and create 3,000. This is the way to go.”

Mangano attempted to lift the mood by sharing his conviction that the results were “a beginning” and that the County would begin studying other options shortly.

The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils released statements Thursday and Friday credited to General Managers Glen Sather and Lou Lamoriello, respectively, in which the executives expressed their support for the Islanders’ cause and implored residents to vote for the bond. The National Hockey League did not comment on last night’s results.

Follow Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…