Readers Write: Build Belmont HUB today for the Islanders new home tomorrow

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Reflecting upon this year’s Islanders season, some of the most memorable moments were seeing the filled seats of the barn; energy and interest for hockey is more present than ever here on Long Island.

This season, Nassau Coliseum was contractually home to only a handful of games, as well as the first playoff series. The Islanders Game 2 victory over the Penguins was perhaps the final, and most passionate game ever played at the Coliseum.

Hopefully, the success this year is dynastic, and will continue in the Belmont Hub on Long Island.

Nassau Coliseum was never meant to be a permanent home for Isles, but a guest location for those lucky enough to grab tickets. This tourism and excitement can all be brought back to Long Island with one project, the Belmont Hub.

There is no reason why the Islanders should be outsourced to an arena and not closer to home.

The enjoyment and excitement of NHL Hockey is about to be back at home on Long Island at the Belmont Park Arena. Nassau Coliseum was home to the N.Y. Islanders for only a handful of events, but as expected they played their most passionate games and were cheered by Long Island’s fans. Looking back at this year’s Islanders season, the energy and interest in hockey is clearly more present today than in recent years.

The Belmont Park Arena project, an ambitious development in Hempstead, is a great solution to keeping the Islanders home who until recently appeared to become nomads. The redevelopment of Belmont Park has been in the works for years and has the potential to be an incredible project. It will create thousands of local construction jobs, hire workers for a hotel and in the dozens of storefronts throughout the retail village.

A project of this magnitude is an economic stimulus for the region, providing valuable job opportunities and revenue streams that grow the tax base. The thousands of workers who build and occupy this site won’t be strangers; they would be your neighbors, your friends, your peers.

The Building and Construction Trades Council maintains that this $1.3 Billion development utilizes a project labor agreement. Projects of this scope should be built with PLA’s simply because it employs the safest trained workforce on Long Island providing good wages and benefits while being built on time and within budget.

This project has been besieged by groups trying to smear it as nothing more than a mega mall with funding of the opposition allegedly coming from another state.

They’re spending upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to stop the project. This type of disingenuous campaign will result in hurting the public by closing the door on opportunities for working class people.

The Building Trades Council emphatically agrees with Gov. Cuomo when he indicated the arena project will be transformational for the community and will attract a litany of customers into its robust shops and stores.

RXR Realty is the master developer of the Nassau HUB, a $1.3 billion project in The Town of Hempstead and agrees to use a project labor agreement that will be negotiated by building trades affiliates.

So I pose this question; why is it that an intricate $1.3 billion sports arena, hotel and retail village, built in the Town of Hempstead, does not demand the same type of analysis and isn’t required to have a project labor agreement like Citi Field?

NY Arena Partners is reluctant to agree to the comparison and believes their plan is more worthy of our trust.

The crown jewel of this project will be the new, permanent home for the Islanders. Native Long Islanders want to see another NY Islanders banner hanging in the rafters, so why not have it hang in an arena that we and our team can call home. Build it now, with a project labor agreement!

Matthew Aracich

Nassau Suffolk Building Trades Council president 

 

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