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LICVB supports arena plan

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
The Cradle of Aviation is home to Nassau County’s longstanding history with flight. Dating back to the late 1920’s countless air planes and other aerospace innovations emerged from the Mitchel Field property, which was once home to the United States Navy. Today, the C of A sits within Museum Row - a gem of the Nassau County tourist attractions - in the shadows of  Nassau Coliseum.

Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau President Moke McGowan spoke to the press about the LICVB's endorsement of the Vote Yes campaign on Wednesday, July 27, 2011.
On Wednesday morning, the President of the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau Moke McGowan stood within the lobby of the Cradle of Aviation, below a Blue Angels fighter plane once flown by U.S. Naval Officers, to announce the LICVB’s endorsement of the creation of a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment destination and the redevelopment of the area.

“I am delighted to be here this morning with Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano as well as the chairman of the Long Island chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association Brian Rosenberg,” McGowan said. “We are here today in support of the redevelopment of the Nassau Coliseum and the addition and creation of a minor league ballpark, plus a number of other developments in the Mitchell (Field) Complex. The importance to our tourism industry and our tourism economy can not be underscored enough.”

McGowan said that within Long Island’s tourism industry there has been a slow recovery from the recession of 2008, but revenues generated have not been enough. The most recent numbers come from the 2009 Census, which shows spending in 2009 was down 16.5 percent and taxes generated were down 13 percent from 2008.

“We are, not just here in Nassau County, but Long Island as a whole, in desperate need of new product, major new product to help drive our tourism industries healthy economy,” McGowan said. “Absent of that, certainly putting back into existing projects such as the Coliseum, helps us tremendously boost our tourism economy.”

The County Executive was thrilled with the LICVB’s endorsement because he is pleased the tourism industry understands making a world-class sports and entertainment destination will boost Nassau County’s economy and the quality of life for all its residents.

A U.S. Navy Fighter Pilot hangs from the ceiling of the Cradle of Aviation Museum.
“We appreciate the endorsement of the Long Island Convention (and Visitors) Bureau,” Mangano said. “It highlights that this project, this economic development job creating project, is much more than just keeping the Islanders here. It emphasizes the important economic impact creating a sports entertainment destination will have.”

Mangano asked for a round of applause for the volunteers who work at the Cradle of Aviation, including a former Grumman employee from his own hometown that donates his time to restore the airplanes and equipment at the museum.

He said, “It was a great concept to have this museum here, preserving our rich history, but what it does need is more tourists. There is no doubt about that. This project has the ability to bring tourists here. With a new arena, we stand to compete with the new arenas that will be built in Brooklyn and the renovated arenas in Manhattan. It’s important that we’re able to compete. It’s important that we are able to leverage the assets that we already have here.”

This sports-entertainment destination is much bigger than just keeping a hockey team here in Nassau County. - Ed Mangano
The assets Mangano pointed to included Museum Row, Mitchel Field, Eisenhower Park and its three golf courses and aquatic center.

“We truly have the makings to create the world class sports-entertainment destination, but to do that, we need the anchor of having an arena, you need the anchor of having a professional sports team and that’s why we’re here, to ask the public to consider whether they wish to invest,” Mangano said.

Head of Long Island's Restaurant Association Brian Rosenberg speaks as Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau President Moke McGowan look on during a press conference at the Cradle of Aviation on Wednesday, July 27, 2011.
The County Executive concluded, “This sports-entertainment destination is much bigger than just keeping a hockey team here in Nassau County.”

As the head of Long Island’s Restaurant Association, Rosenberg once again hit home with a speech residents can relate to. He talked about a recent family outing to Manhattan for a family show and related it back to the epic MasterCard commercials.

“It reminded me of the MasterCard commercial, where the tickets cost $250, the dinner was $150, parking was $60, gas and tolls were another $20 and then having a beautiful $400 million arena in your backyard priceless,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg added, “Moke (McGowan) has the challenge of getting people to spend their dollars here on Long Island,” Rosenberg said. “We’ve become Nassau County, the road to the Hamptons. That’s not what I came out here for (from Brooklyn). I came out here for entrepreneurial vision and spirit and that’s what we need.”
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