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May 16, 2011
Islanders arena plan must convince rest of humanity
Newsday, which apparently is willing to drop its paywall if you're reading on a phone (or just pretend to be), has a good rundown of the hurdles facing the new New York Islanders arena, and they are legion:
- The $400 million plan must be approved by Nassau County voters, which is no slam dunk, despite an August 1 referendum date seemingly picked to ensure low voter turnout, which would benefit a get-out-the-vote campaign by construction unions.
- Two-thirds of the county legislature would need to vote for the financing plan, and right now even the Republican majority isn't entirely on board. "We don't need to have a contract in place," county comptroller George Maragos told Newsday. "We just need a good understanding of the revenue sharing and why it is beneficial to the county."
- The Nassau Interim Finance Authority "represents perhaps the biggest hurdle," according to Newsday. George Marlin, a board member of the agency that took over the county's finances in January, told the paper: "I have a fiduciary obligation to examine and study the proposal and make sure the assumptions are based on reality and not pie in the sky hopes. And if it does not meet reality, then as a fiduciary, I have no alternative but to seriously consider not approving such a project."
In all three cases, it sounds like the key will be whether Islanders owner Charles Wang can make a case that the arena financing numbers will add up — or at the very least, explain what they are. Wang told Newsday: "We'll do everything we can to make it work, get the information out, make people understand what the alternatives are, and we'll keep working at it." HTH