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Red Flags For Coliseum Project Shows Parallels to Avalon Bay

While this may be more of a Nassau County issue, I feel it’s still relevant to all Long Island. The Nassau Coliseum referendum project is a pivot point for all Long Island. On a Monday in August, residents will vote–a vote still yet to be determined as legally binding–on whether they want to allow the County to fund this project.

How does this relate to Avalon Bay in Huntington Station? Allow me to explain. When there is the need to take an important issue such as the re-building of the Coliseum and put it before the citizens expected to foot the bill, it deserves scrutiny. The first question I ask is, can they really afford it? The finances of Nassau County are akin to a patient with a serious disease. While the disease is curable and the patient may be showing signs of hope, any doctor would prescribe rest to help the recovery process. So, basically, a trek up climb Mt. Kilimanjaro would be the wrong activity to recommend.

Why are the leaders of Nassau County so willing to take such a risky financial hike? Is Nassau County on such solid ground that it can undertake this investment? The folks from NIFA, the state-appointed group overseeing the County’s finances, don’t seem to think so. That’s a big red flag. The supporters love to illustrate the potential benefits that come with the project. Thousands of jobs, increased revenues, etc. I say prove it. All one has to do is review stadium construction projects around the U.S. in the past 20 years and see how truly beneficial they have been. I reviewed these projects and  discovered that remarkably, many projects have resulted in buyers remorse. The stadium/arena projects did not generate the expected returns but left the supporting municipal entity with a heavy debt burden, which falls directly on the backs of citizens. Another red flag.

Newsday seems most guilty of this fact scrubbing. The paper itself is a terminal patient whose relevance has long subsided. It acts as a cheerleader for the arena and has failed to deliver reports of its real long-term costs. But perhaps owners are fearful that their lucrative cable broadcasts would go black should no team be housed in an old arena. My rates might actually go down then. But not likely. The relationship is too chummy and there is a lack of fair reporting. Another red flag.

And that brings me to the most touchy subject. How much of a hockey fan base exists on Long Island to support a team? I grew up in the 1970s in Nassau County. Every third person seemed to be a hockey fan back then and when the run of Stanley Cups started, Long Island was the envy of all the NHL. But that glory and greatness ended almost 27 years ago. A lot has changed. Fans retired and moved away. Long Island’s housing market exploded and young people, first-time home buyers, moved away. There are more distractions like the Internet, and travel by air is easy and cheap so folks can entertain themselves away from Long Island. And the newest wave of immigrants settling in our neighborhoods are from places around the world where ice never forms and hockey is an unknown entity. Where is the future fan base of hockey on Long Island. This is another huge red flag.

Why the shades of Avalon Bay? Because a referendum of such vital importance and huge economic impact is being held on a Monday in August. And because so many questions are unanswered and the same spooky coalitions can’t wait to break ground on the project, which makes me sad that more residents have not organized a drive for truth and clarification on the project. If this were such a strong initiative, it would not need a summertime vote. I’m certain the same coalition of the corrupt that jammed Avalon Bay down the throats of the Town of Huntington will succeed in fleecing the taxpayers of Nassau.

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