New York Islanders
August 2, 2011 by staff
New York Islanders, Nassau County residents voted against a referendum and 400 million in the special election on Monday that could have led to the construction of a new home for the New York Islanders, according to The Associated Press.
With 62 percent of the vote reported, opponents of the referendum carried 58 percent of the vote. County officials who supported the effort, said a vote was needed to give officials enough time to build a replacement for the aging Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum prior to lease the islands’ expires in 2015. Without a new building, team owner Charles Wang has said he may have to move the team to Nassau County, either elsewhere in Long Island or in another market.
Participation was very clear on Monday, as only 15 percent of the residents went to the polls before the polls close at 9 pm in the afternoon bad weather and problems with service Long Island Rail Road may have contributed to low participation, as observers.
Proponents of the project, including labor unions, tourism officials and many business groups, said the project would bring jobs and spark economic growth. Opponents, however, won the vote, insisting that residents taxed and should not have to foot the bill for the stadium project.
The plan, if approved, would have the county borrow 400 000 000 through a general obligation bond.
With the opening of next year Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden for a complete overhaul, the output of the islanders would likely mean the eventual demise of the Coliseum, the only home that the team has had since entering the NHL in 1972. The Islanders recently asked the province and $ 4 million for a series of repairs, including fixes to the ceiling, some seats lower bowl and the icemaker.
Wang has been trying to find a new place for the Islanders to play instead of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which opened in 1972. Leasing of equipment with the building expires in 2015, and the current plan would be for the islanders to move to the new arena at the start of the 2015-16 season.
The most prominent plans Wang was considered “Project Lighthouse”, but the owner failed to obtain approval for the plan of the town of Hempstead. The project – which would be privately financed – came with an estimated cost of 3.74 billion and includes a renovated Coliseum, a stadium for minor league baseball and several other houses, hotels and businesses in the area.
“I think we have to face the reality of the situation,” Wang said before Monday’s vote. “We have a place to play more, because come 2015, our lease expires. … We have to have a place to play, so it is out of options, basically.”
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