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ABLI insists Mitchel Field development surrounding a new Coliseum needs to be an open competitive bid
May 20, 2011

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano came armed with facts and surprising passion in seeking the support of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) for his plan to rebuild the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum stating, “After a decade of talk the status quo isn’t an option.”

The ABLI agreed that economic development within the Hub is an imperative but the devil is not only in the details, including a proposed referendum on a $400 million bond issue, but how the development rights surrounding the coliseum have seemingly been bequeathed to Islander owner Charles Wang.

“Mr. Wang originally won a competition with a plan he dubbed “the Lighthouse.”  That plan is dead, gone and almost forgotten.  Given that this is public land, and taxpayers have a lot riding on its development, there needs to be a new competition that brings out the smartest, most effective use of the property. Few would debate the need for a new coliseum that would help restore attendance for Islander games but the surrounding 40 acres need a real rate of return for the taxpayer that only an open RFP would bring,” stated ABLI executive director Desmond Ryan.

Mangano said the Hub plan is part a series of economic initiatives he has undertaken in an effort to spark investment, jobs and new tax producing developing. He also touched on encouraging Homeland Security related companies to open their doors in Nassau County along with film production studios and a racino at Belmont Race Track in Elmont.

“No one knows better than the members of the ABLI that high property taxes will destroy the economy of Nassau County and that the ability to generate jobs lies with the private sector. Accordingly, we stand for Mitchel Field economic growth but the process needs to be open, transparent and competitive. Otherwise we are looking at an insider game of winks and nods over property that is Nassau County’s last best hope,” continued Ryan.

Ryan says the ABLI will review the current contract between the County and Mr. Wang to establish the criteria for any new development proposal by the Islander owner to replace his failed “Lighthouse.”  The group will also review the financial structure of the proposed bond deal the taxpayer will be asked to approve on August 1st.

The ABLI is made up of companies holding some $25 billion worth of commercial, retail, industrial and residential properties throughout Long Island. It is an advocate of orderly economic growth for the purpose of protecting our region’s quality of life.

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