In an interview with Howie Rose broadcast tonight on the Islanders FSN pre-game show, Islanders owner Charles Wang shared his latest thoughts on the potential transformation of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The following is a transcript of the interview:
If I had to speak for a fan, the thing they want to know right now is what's happening with the building? There's been a lot of talk for so long of at least getting the building renovated. Do you have a handle yet on what is going to happen?
I wish I did. This gets to me because there's a frustration point. We've spent some 20 years talking about this wonderful slab of concrete - "Do something for Nassau County. Do something for Long Island." It's now been three or four years, putting all the plans and a vision together, spending five million dollars, spending over a year negotiating a lease, signing a lease with the county. And all they had to do was put it in front of the legislators.
And yet, they can't get the thing going. They can't even say yes or no. This really upsets me. The Islanders deserve better. Islander fans deserve better. Nassau County and Long Island residents deserve better than what we're getting. But more importantly, our kids - the future generation - should have this opportunity. They say, "Taxes are high" and "Our kids are leaving Long Island because there's no place to live, there are no career opportunities." Look what they're doing! Put it in front of the legislature! Say yes or no, but make up your mind.
Do you see any light at the end of the tunnel that at least would give you a clearer picture?
I think it's coming to a head because, as you know, there's been a lot of speculation about County Executive Tom Suozzi running for governor. And I know that as a Nassau resident and a citizen of Long Island, there's no way that Tom can run and campaign all over the State if the largest project for Long Island - something we know has to be done - still has to be decided. So I think it's coming to a head, and I think we should get an answer promptly, yes or no.
Is there anything an Islander fan can do to help this side of the project along?
All of the fans, everybody, pick up the phone and call the County Executive, call the legislators and tell them, let's get going.
So if you had to put your finger on when you will have some resolution, do you have any idea yet?
All I can say is that there is a limit to anyone's patience. We have to fix this place. This place¦well, all of the Islander fans know what a mess it is. We have an opportunity here - it's not costing taxpayers one cent - to take this thing and take it into the next century. It's for our kids, and we deserve better.
Interview in Windows Media Player format.
Interview in Real Media Player format.
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