I’ve wanted to post something on the Islanders Arena debate for some time now – but being summer and in the HVAC trade, it’s been hard to make time. As you can see though, I’ve added a VOTE YES banner above some time ago that links right to the Islanders page on the arena project.
I know there is a lot of debate on this subject and it’s the very reason why I have such a distaste for politics in general. I wish I could vote on Monday, August 1st – I picked the worst time to become a resident of East Hampton, after living in Nassau for 30 years. That doesn’t mean my support of this Arena isn’t there however.
I’ve preached endlessly to family, friends and co-workers on the benefits of this project, and what COULD happen should the vote not pass. I’m even having my office put out a memo with tomorrow’s paycheck reminding Nassau County residents about the vote Monday and why they should be supportive of this, it does have an effect on everyone, fans of the Islanders or not.
I think that’s the coolest part in all of this, Isles, Rangers and Devils fans alike are all saying the same things in unison – that the Islanders are important to the community and need this arena to survive.
If you listened to WFAN’s Mike Fransesca this week talk to Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs – you’d know the Democrats are dead set against this – it’s a Republican idea after all. Fransesca buried Jacobs in the interview – shooting down his suggestion of PSL’s for seats like in football, among other half wit ideas he threw out there. It was blatantly clear that Jacobs wants HIS cronies to build on this 77-acre parcel in Nassau.
Islanders owner Charles Wang followed and really hit a home run, thanks in part to Jacobs. He addressed taxes, reminded the listeners he’d be on the hook for any cost overruns above $350-Million, cited studies that show how LITTLE taxes would go up of the referendum passes and how much taxes would go up if the Islanders leave Nassau and the arena goes dark.
If Nassau Coliseum goes dark – it will be shuttered. It’s in dire shape and the cost to improve the facility wouldn’t be worth the money with no major tenant. That means no more concerts, the circus, car and boat shows and other shows that come to the arena when there isn’t hockey. In turn, the surrounding businesses in the area would suffer as well – and that’s not good during these tough economic times.
The most important factoid in all of this, the unprecedented revenue sharing deal that the Islanders and Nassau County have agreed to. The Islanders will pay 11.5% of ALL revenue earned, per year towards repaying the “loan” of the bonds. At the bare minimum, based on an independent study – this would GUARANTEE $14-Million a year to the county. Obviously, the better the arena does with events (tickets, concessions, parking ect.) the more the county earns.
The onus is on us, Long Islanders, Nassau County residents, the young and old – to correct past mistakes and help build towards a brighter future on Long Island. Enough of the political games, Long Islanders DESERVE a destination and it would be a tragedy to lose an arena, and more importantly Long Island’s only professional sports franchise – due to politics.
This Island used to be something special, people came here in droves to make a better life and live life to the fullest. Well, the Island is becoming a dry desert – businesses shuttered, corporations leaving New York due to the cost of doing business, the “brain drain” of Long Islands youth that leave for college and never return. This can all stop, if you go out on Monday August 1st, and VOTE YES for the Arena Referendum.
Do your small part to save long Island, and help the local economy.