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Union Chief: New Isles Arena Necessary

Long Island Federation of Labor President John Durso said Coliseum plan would put union members to work.

Long Island Federation of Labor President John Durso on Wednesday urged Nassau County residents to vote in favor of $400 million in bonds when it's put to a vote on Aug. 1.

Durso, a chief supporter of the Lighthouse project, called the latest plan "probably our last chance to save the Islanders and develop that area."

Earlier in the day, team owner Charles Wang, County Executive Ed Mangano and Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray pitched using the bonds to pay for a new arena for the New York Islanders.

"In the building and construction trades, about 30 percent are unemployed," Durso said. "Thousands and thousands of union people are unemployed or underemployed. We need this to get the economy started again."

Durso was also a big proponent of the Lighthouse project, Wang's proposal to turn the 77 acres surrounding the Nassau Coliseum into a multi-use center, complete with a new arena, skyscraper, hotels and office buildings.

But he's ready to move forward.

"It's scaled down from what we had hoped for," Durso said. "But it will pump tens of millions of dollars into the economy. And while the bond is not small, it is not astronomical."

Patch Note: We will be talking to leaders from throughout Nassau County about the latest Coliseum development proposal. Keep checking back, and please let us know what you think.

Daniel Garcia June 22, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Frank, Not to worry. He can pawn the obligation off onto the next administration and blame it on Suozzi.
James Kittle June 22, 2011 at 05:03 PM
If this thing were a good idea then they wouldn't need a special election on a Monday in the middle of summer. This is a give-away to the unions and a hockey team that has been irrelevant to the community and lousy on the ice for more than 30 years. If Wang wants a new arena, and if its going to be such a great money maker, then let him build the arena and the development complex with private money. And why is there public money for a massive construction project, but no money for after school programs and librarians in the elementary schools? My family and I didn't move to Long Island because of the Islanders or because there was an arena for conventions or a minor league baseball team. We moved here for good schools, proximity to our jobs in New York City and a clean safe family oriented community. There is overwhelming evidence that these huge sports teams and convention complex projects are always a net loss for the taxpayers. There simply isn't any evidence that they generate positive revenue for the taxpayers who fund them. A convention center and a lousy NHL team might be a good sell in some other part of the country but it is completely unnecessary to Nassau County. Finally, Nassau County is broke. So, we don't need it and we can't afford it. Vote no on August 1st. And at the next November election vote out the people that tried to foist this upon us with a $2 million dollar special election.
Daniel Garcia June 22, 2011 at 06:10 PM
Hopefully this won't be the only public forum where voters will read why a NO vote is so pragmatic. It's up to each and everyone of us (on this thread) to speak loudly at our respective Civic Associations and any public hearings held b/n now & Aug 1, IF the administration sees fit to advise time, dates and locations. Also (and no offense to Patch) this cannot be the organ in which the Vote NO message is voiced. We need to announce in Newsday (outside their Op-Ed and Letters to the Editor section) and CableVision's News12.
Bill Sweeney June 22, 2011 at 09:55 PM
I agree. But then let him build something. It's the TOH's fault with this.
An tUasal Airgead June 22, 2011 at 10:06 PM
The County Executive will host a series of public information meetings from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on: •Wednesday, June 29th at the East Meadow Library at 1886 Front St. (Town of Hempstead). •Thursday, June 30th at the William P. Bennett Hicksville Community Center at 28 West Carl St. (Town of Oyster Bay). •Friday, July 1st at the American Legion Hall at 730 Willis Ave. in Williston Park (Town of N. Hempstead). http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/CountyExecutive/NewsRelease/2010/6-22-2011.htm

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