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It has been has almost been two months since the vote for the new Coliseum did not pass with Nassau County. The Islanders got back on their feet and started preparing for this upcoming season. With no new arena in the works and Nassau Coliseum growing older, is there a possibility that the Islanders will move?
The Lighthouse was proposed in 2007 and was mapped out for the public to see. No vote was necessary since it was the creation of Charles Wang (the Islanders Owner) himself. The project would include hotels, restaurants, a baseball stadium, a shopping complex as well as the new arena. The cost for the project was approximately $200 million. The Lighthouse did not pass with the county which caused a setback in the plans for the old coliseum. As a result the Islanders played a pre-season game in Kansas City, Missouri. This is the spoken-of place of relocation for the Islanders, if they were to move. Charles Wang has no plans to move the Islanders from the Island, as this was simply just a threat.
On Aug. 1, 2011, the people of Nassau County were able to vote for the new arena. The vote did not pass and it left the Islanders, politicians, store owners of the surrounding area as well as Charles Wang with their heads hung low. It was a set back but it wasn’t the end. The vote was rushed and the voters only saw the negative side, new taxes. The voters were not very educated about the matter at hand and voted it down due to the taxes they would be paying. With the vote failing, Charles Wang vows to keep the team on Long Island as long as possible and hopes to work out a deal before their lease is up.
The Islanders lease is up in 2015 with the current coliseum. If a new coliseum does not pass by than, the team will most likely be forced to leave the area. There is some talk about moving the team to Suffolk County as well as Brooklyn. The New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn at the start of the 2012-13 season. The arena is called the Barclays Center and it is still under construction. The developer of the complex is hoping to find another team to share the building with and the Islanders are a great candidate. Let’s face the facts, the Nets aren’t going to sell out an arena by themselves, even with their move to Brooklyn. The Islanders had the lowest attendance through out the entire NHL last season. These two teams could potentially help each other.
The new building will not only help the economy as well as the County. The Islanders can benefit from a new arena by giving them that sense of confidence and hope that they will soon be that playoff team again.