Development at Belmont Park would affect everything the Village of Floral Park does, Mayor Dominick Longobardi said at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Longobardi and Deputy Mayor Kevin Fitzgerald attended a meeting on Nov. 28 with the Empire State Development Corp. where development plans were discussed, Fitzgerald said.
There will be a public meeting on 4:30 p.m. on Sunday at Elmont High School, hosted by state Sens. Elaine Phillips, Todd Kaminsky and Leroy Comrie.
Longobardi and Fitzgerald said they strongly encourage residents to attend.
“Development at Belmont Park is going to impact everything we do depending on what happens,” Longobardi said. “It is a great opportunity for all of us … to find out more details, if possible, what’s going to happen at Belmont.”
There are two bidders for Belmont, the New York Islanders and the New York City FC soccer club. A third bidder, the Syosset-based Blumenfeld Development Group, withdrew its bid on Monday due to a selection process that it said seemed to be predetermined, according to Newsday.
The bidders are seeking to build a sports arena.
The Islanders’ owner, Jonathan Ledecky, told Newsday the arena would “galvanize the community in a very positive way.”
Fitzgerald said the board finds it questionable how the owner can make such a statement without hearing the village’s concerns.
Fitzgerald said the board has reached out to the Islanders only to be informed that the team owners cannot speak to village officials while the application is pending.
“We are asking them once again to meet with us so they can listen directly to our concerns on how an arena can have significant adverse effects on the daily lives of our residents of Floral Park,” Fitzgerald said.
One issue concerns transportation, according to a village resident. The Islanders’ bid is backed by Oak View Group, whose investors include James Dolan, the executive owner of the Madison Square Garden Co.
“These guys know how to throw money around,” the resident said.”They know how to get their deals done … they could very easily throw their weight around and maybe even do something like create public busing from Floral Park train station to Belmont Park in order to accommodate New York Islander fans coming from out of Long Island.”
At the meeting, the board also took time during the meeting to thank five village employees who received the New York Conference of Mayors service award.
“It’s one thing to have a career, but another to put your heart and soul into that career,” Longobardi said.
The recognized employees were Thomas Mack, for 35 years of service, Richard Albertson, for 35 years of service, Thomas Asfar, for 25 years of service, Evelyn Schultz, for 35 years of service and Paul Abruzzese, for 40 years of service.