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August 1st will be a decisive day for Long Islanders. A vote will be held regarding the possible rebuilding of the Nassau Coliseum, home of hockey’s New York Islanders, and the general redevelopment of the area.
On May 31st the Nassau County (New York) Legislature held a meeting to decide whether or not to let county residents vote at all on the proposed $400 million dollar project, a meeting that culminated with a positive decision for residents, putting the choice in their hands.
Rallys had recently been held in support of the referendum. Understandably, residents, union workers and business men and women around the area want the choice to be theirs rather than solely up to the Islanders owner Charles Wang and other county legislators.
However, Wang was the person who first brought this plan to fruition. The proposal offers not only a brand new state of the art arena for the Islanders, but also will include the construction of a minor league baseball field nearby in the same complex. Rumors have also floated around that should this vote pass, a casino will be built in the area as well.
The initial thought is that $400 million dollars is a ton of money to be spending during such a harsh economic climate, especially on a hockey team that hasn’t produced much success, either financially or athletically, in over a decade.
Though this is true, residents should think further into the future, after these arenas are built, and look for the positives in the project.
Thousands upon thousands of jobs will be created both in the construction of these buildings, and the everyday operations of them after they are finished. In such a time when finding jobs is difficult in any place, people should not quickly turn a blind eye to such an investment without serious thought.
The project could prove to be a real boost to the overall economy of the entire county. A new stadium would bring much revenue to business in the surrounding areas. At the very least it would send more traffic through the area, and for the most part, people equal money.
Should this vote fail, the belief is that the Islanders will be forced to move out of Uniondale. Possible rumored locations include Queens, Brooklyn, and possibly out of state destinations such as Kansas City. If the Islanders are gone, the Coliseum will undoubtedly go vacant, and cause not only a loss of jobs and revenue, but create an unused eyesore for the community, a reminder of what once was the pride of Long Island.
August 1st, 2011 may indeed be a day that goes down in infamy, with the future of Long Island waning in the balance, no matter the outcome of the vote. Residents are urged to take a side on the project in the coming months and go to the polls so they can have their hand in shaping not only the home of one of their beloved sports teams, but their home as well.