New York ISLANDERS: There's "Light" For A New House After All. It's up to Nassau County to score a goal for Long Island's Hockey fans now.
Because last week was a little too hectic for me in addition to Blogger being down for a few days, I'm playing catch-up with a few items. Here's one of the topics I've been meaning to talk about.
The New York Islanders' owner, Charles Wang's Light House project never had life beyond the drawing board. Those plans are a distant memory now. As your average Brooklynite, I'm no one to say one way or another how Long Island's Nassau County should conduct their business. But at face value, here's the part of the latest developments concerning a new arena for the Islanders that for the life of me, I do not understand:
1) - Charles Wang wanted to fund a much grander plan (named The Lighthouse Project...OK, it was a Monster plan...) incorporating a new Islander's arena along with multiple attractions; residential units; and shopping outlets to make Uniondale a destination more conducive to year-round activity and to also make the Billion dollar-plu$ plan financially feasible to follow through with. All that Mr. Wang required from Nassau County was to rezone the area as he was willing to fund the entire project himself. For Nassau County, unlike in Brooklyn where the issue with Atlantic Yards centered around the usage/misuses of Eminent Domain..., Wang's plan was summarily denied by the Nassau County Counsel with a total disregard for the possibility the Islanders easily could relocate once their lease in Nassau Coliseum ends. Kansas City has a brand spanking new arena merely in search of a tenant. Quebec, Canada has been clamouring for another team also. During this past season, about 2,000 Quebec Hockey Fans travelled to Nassau Coliseum for an Islander game and chanting for the team to relocate. The County's issues had to due with over-congesting this 77-acre site. In spite of Mr. Wang's admitting the team is losing tens of millions per season, he's always maintained his want is to keep the Islanders in Uniondale and he was willing to do so by taking on full costs to get it done.
2) - With their bullied compromise (currently) allegedly in place and waiting for a vote of approval, what Nassau County is now willing to agree to is floating bonds to the tune of $400 million.... at the expense of Long Island taxpayers to fund not only a new arena, but quite possibly, a new minor league ball park to house a potential future team in the Atlantic League of Baseball. Now before I discuss that, I'm forced to ask this:
Wang's original proposal hinged on his own, private, and total private financing. What he failed to get was Municipal cooperation. So now that Nassau County is satisfactorily feeling like they are calling the shots again, it will now cost the tax-payers even more money on top of the onerous property taxes they already pay to see this project get done.
Where once Long Island could have had a vast entertainment and economic center built, which would have been fully financed by Mr. Wang, (who lacked only one critical element, County Approval to rezone for the 77-acre site) - The County will now vote on spending taxpayer money for a scaled-down and much blander version far from resembling the original (albeit extravagant) plan.
So, the big question here is ~ Who's the one who thought this was a better plan..., much less a good plan? That's gov't at work for ya.
Now, as far as that Baseball park, - The idea is not new. It has been floated around before. As a matter of fact, the embattled Fred Wilpon; owner of the Mets; was a one time interested principle in an idea to bring the Mets' AA operation to Long Island. This new plan for a team in Nassau County would create a natural and much closer rival for the Long Island Ducks team in Islip. The Atlantic League is in search for an eighth, stable franchise group to join the League. The League currently maintains an all road team for the purposes of fielding eight teams and keeping schedule integrity.
Can Nassau County draw 5,000 fans a night in an overly saturated Baseball market?