This afternoon the Nassau County Legislature held a hearing on the future of the Nassau County "Hub" which includes the Nassau Coliseum as most of us already know.
Below will be my summaries of the biggest things to come out of the hearing.
At the hearing today, Deputy County Executive Robert Walker was the first person to speak and he spoke for upwards of 90 minutes. One of the points he stressed was that the Coliseum would be 100% privately financed. However subsequent speakers said the ROI (Return On Investment) wouldn't be great enough for a developer to actually take something like that on so some sort of public element would be needed.
They said that the state could pay that part, however Kevin Law who is the Co President of the organization who handles that which was created by Governor Cuomo said the biggest award issued last year to a single place was 6 million dollars. Now 6 million dollars is a lot of money, but no where near the amount that would put even a small dent in something like this.
Both Walker and Mike Picker said that talks were ongoing between the County and the Islanders, and I have a feeling this is something being talked about because they have two totally different views on this and beside getting the approvals this is the most important thing so your not going to go anywhere without it.
Answer by Years End??
That is correct!! Speculation by both Deputy Executive Walker and Mike Picker would be that an answer on redevelopment for the property would be needed by years end if not sooner so the Islanders can start making preparations for life post July 31st 2015. That date is something nobody at the hearing seemed to know, they would just say the middle of 2015.
Well after all these years, we seem to be nearing the end game. All I have to say is thank god!
At one point, Rob Walker reiterated developer Vince Polimeni stance of trying to lure another professional team here sure the Islanders leave. How foolish can someone be to choose to come here willingly and deal with this crap? Nobody with any ounce of sanity will come here!!
At another point Legislator Howard Kopel tried to say that Yankee Stadium was privately financed by the Yankees. Picker quickly shut him down with that! But the fact that he thought that is rather scary!! Its not like there were a ton of articles detailing how many bonds and stuff of that nature both the Yankees and Mets sought from NYC at the time. Oh wait!
Little mention of the ABLI!!
There was very little mention of the ABLI this afternoon. After all the mention of them and all the talk from Mr. Polimeni I thought for sure they would have a Representative or someone there to talk on behalf of them but three hours in and there was nothing from them.
Legislators get a Laugh at our Expense!!
After Rob Walker spoke, the legislators were given a chance to ask him questions. When it came to Legislator Denenberg he started off by saying that the first hearing he ever supervised was on the Nassau Coliseum and it was under Tom Gulotta. He said he remembered telling legislator Nicolello at the time, "imagine if were here 10 years from now." That line got big laughs from him, Legislator Nicolello, as well as Denise Ford who was in charge of the hearing.
Am I the only one that sees issue with this? The fact that our elected officials who are supposed to have our best interests at heart find humor in the fact that politics have strangled this process so long that we are no closer to getting something done now then we were over ten years ago?
Everyone in the crowd saw no humor in it and some where even a little offended that the Legislators did, and rightly so!
That shows the type of people those particular legislators are, that they think its funny that development is impossible in this area and that more then 2300 people could end up unemployed because of their negligence and down right carelessness!
It was nice to see so many Islander employees come out for this! Many employees all the way up to Paul Lancey and Michael Picker showed up for this. If you are un aware they are Wangs right hand guys when it comes to this kind of stuff.
There were times when I thought I was more knowledgeable on certain things related to this then the people speaking were. For example one of the speakers, I forget who said they need to make sure all the jobs come from Long Island. Now I know that since early in the Lighthouse, they've had contracts with the Nassau Suffolk Trades ran by James Castellane and Jim Durso that stated such. But how does he as a leader of an organization not know that?
Overall, not the "beginning of the end" as some speculated it might be, in my opinion at least. But it was definitely informative!