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Charles Wang's speech from new arena press conference

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

Today is truly another step for Nassau County.  I want to thank the County Executive and both our staffs for the efforts put forth to arrive at this important juncture.  I know that all of you have worked around the clock.  THANK YOU VERY MUCH. 

However, I do want to take today’s news up to a higher level and talk about a bigger picture that affects our fundamental quality of life.  In order for us to grow, we need to INVEST in our future. 

I am not blind to our struggling economy and how it has affected everyone in Nassau County.  I am very cognizant of the substantial taxes paid by everyone.  But the economy is not going to fix itself.  We have to make decisions on opportunities that can be a CATALYST for improving our lives and especially our children’s lives in Nassau County. 

The partnership that we are announcing today provides a roadmap to build a new sports and entertainment venue that will attract first rate concerts, family shows and sporting events.  This arena will be a CATALYST for Nassau County to grow and allow itself the ability to compete with all the other new or relatively new facilities in the metropolitan area for events.  Almost 2 million patrons annually visit the current Coliseum and spend their hard earned money in Nassau County. This money drives jobs not only at the arena and the local businesses that surround the venue but in businesses throughout Nassau County and all of Long Island.  This spending also drives sales and entertainment tax revenues.  If we don’t have a new arena, the Islanders, who were born in Nassau County in 1972, will be faced with a tough decision when their lease expires in July of 2015.  If the Islanders cannot stay, the economically and structurally obsolete arena will be shuttered and all the current economic activity will cease for Nassau County.  It won’t cease for the other arenas in the metropolitan New York area since Long Islanders will still go to the events and spend their hard, earned money except their spending will inure to the benefit of areas other than Nassau County. 

Our partnership with Nassau County and its residents is unprecedented.  We will be providing to the County a significant percentage of the arena’s revenue streams, NOT just the New York Islanders.  These dollars will be used to offset property taxes to the residents and businesses of Nassau County.  I am CONFIDENT, plus the County’s multiple independent consulting reports support this, that over the 30 years of the new arena deal, the dollars coming into the County will greatly exceed the cost.

This is about our future and the good news is that the residents of Nassau County will make that decision on August 1.  There is no better way.

Thank You Very Much

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