Written by Eric Holden Friday, 05 August 2011 00:00
The $400 million bond plan to replace the 39-year-old Nassau Coliseum and construct a minor league ballpark at Mitchell Field was spurned by Nassau County residents in public vote on Aug. 1. According to the Nassau County Board of Elections, the margin was 88,389 (57 percent) opposed to 66,829 (43 percent) in favor.
Charles Wang, who bought the New York Islanders 11 years ago for an estimated $190 million, said he was extremely saddened by the outcome.
“I have to tell you I’m disappointed,” said Wang. “To put it very bluntly, I’m heartbroken.”
Wang went on to say that he is committed to keeping the New York Islanders on Long Island until 2015, the year in which their Nassau Coliseum lease expires. However, without a new arena on the horizon, Wang may be forced to move the team out of the area.
“Right now it’s a very emotional time for us,” said Wang, adding, “We now have a season to concentrate on with a team that is bursting with young talent sprinkled with the right mix of experience. This combination bodes well for the last four years of our lease.
“We will continue to bring the best possible concerts, family shows and exhibitions, so Long Islanders can continue to enjoy these events and keep their hard-earned dollars in Nassau County,” Wang said.
County Executive Edward Mangano said that he will seek additional options for the Nassau Coliseum property in the weeks ahead.
“We will find a way to create jobs and opportunities in our great county and bring people together,” added Mangano. “We must never stop working together for a better Nassau County, a better New York and a better America. Remember this just opens up a new door. We will continue to move ahead.”
Mangano later said that he hopes to work on a new plan to revitalize the site. The county executive planned a press conference on the day after the vote to solicit proposals for the site.
“Tonight is not an ending. It is a beginning,” added Mangano. “We will explore a new path that solves the problems and blockades involved in redeveloping the Nassau Coliseum property.”
The New York Islanders’ home opener is Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. against the Florida Panthers.