Nassau County representatives were at the Long Beach Library on Tuesday to speak with city residents and address their questions about New York Islanders’ owner Charles Wang and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano plans to replace the Nassau Coliseum, construct a new minor league baseball stadium and renovate the surrounding areas.
Although Long Beach, about 15 miles distance from the Coliseum in Uniondale, will not see any of the construction, the county still wanted to give its residents a chance to learn more about the project before county taxpayers vote on Aug. 1 to determine whether the estimated $400 million renovation project, called “The Hub,” will materialize.
“There’s a lot of editorializing about what’s going on and we just want to make sure people know what’s going on,” said Peter DiSilvio, the county’s director of Special Projects.
In May, when Wang and Mangano announced their plans, the redevelopment project was touted as an effort to create new tax revenue for the county and keep the Islanders in town through 2045.
The Islanders’ lease with the Coliseum expires in 2015, and without a new arena, the team will have to seriously evaluate its future in Nassau. The Aug. 1 vote will tell whether or not taxpayers are ready to invest in the new sports complex, which the county projects will generate $1.2 billion in revenue and more than 3,000 new permanent jobs over the 30 years the Islanders will stay in Uniondale.
One concern many have expressed is the potential increased tax burden that county residents must carry if the referendum passes Aug. 1.Earlier this month, East Meadow Patch reported that the expected annual cost per average household would be $48 to $58.
But country representatives, who are conducting a series of informational meetings across several communities, said in Long Beach Tuesday that new estimates say the renovation of the Coliseum would cost at most $23 per average household annually, since a new revenue sharing agreement made Monday with the Islanders guaranteed the team would cover a minimum of $14 million or 11.5 percent of the total gross per year, whichever figure is higher.
County representatives said that the additional cost of the new baseball stadium and other construction would only cost the average household “a few additional dollars” per year. They added that these numbers were only relevant in the “worst case scenario,” and were projected in the instance the Coliseum and ballpark failed to sell one ticket or piece of merchandise at any of its future events.
“Camoin Associates did an independent financial report, and they say that starting in the first year of operation, 2015, enough revenues will be collected to pay for borrowing and make 2.2 million profit,” said Eden Laikin, director of Governmental Research.
Laikin noted that the projected $20-plus annual average tax burden will be unnecessary after the first year of operations.
Long Beach resident Dimbaza Dumile, like some who attended Tuesday’s meeting, was excited about the new project.
“I’m in favor of it,” Dumile said. “I think it’ll benefit the Nassau County area and it’ll keep the area valid.”
Fran Rosenberg from Atlantic Beach said she still has concerns about the impact it will have on traffic and overcrowding.
“I still have issues about transportation and the bus system,” she said. “If the bus system will accommodate this new building and whatever else is built, will bus service be taken away from other communities to go toward this?”
* Nicole Murphy contributed to this story.