The future of the New York Islanders home is starting to take shape, at least indirectly. With a meeting in Elmont scheduled for today to talk about what the community wants from builders.
This isn’t do or die, but the New York Islanders will have a good indication as to what the community is looking for from any RFP, Request For Proposal, submitted for Belmont Park today.
Community members, and just about anyone with a vested interest will be able to take a maximum of three minutes to give their opinions on what an RFP should include.
To give you a sense of what some in the community are looking for here’s a list of what one community group (We Are Elmont) wants. It’s pretty large and all-encompassing but it gives you a good preview of what’s to come:
"provides tech start-ups, educational facilities, commercial, retail, restaurants, transit-oriented housing for young professionals and empty nesters, quality of life recreational and green spaces for the surrounding communities, without placing tax burdens on local residents."
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Which makes sense, the community is the one that has to deal with any negative externalities that will come from any construction. The increase in traffic, both by car and foot, and the increased noise pollution.
They’ll have to deal with that for the 41 home games the New York Islanders play there (assuming their RFP is successful). So getting something that can be used by the community even when there aren’t any games seems sensible.
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The meeting being held at the Elmont Memorial Library today is to hear from the community. Political leaders want to hear what the community wants from any RFP. And to an extent that could include any love or hate for a hockey arena being built at Belmont Park.
Remember that a 25,000 seat soccer stadium for the New York Cosmos was scrapped for this location just six months ago by the state. Empire State Development Corp. spokesman James Conwall told Newsday at the time that the bid was scrapped to:
"“[…]consider economic development and job creation opportunities beyond the scope of the original request.”"
To be fair the Cosmos are drawing about half the crowds they used to, and are playing in a league that’s having a major identity crisis as teams are weighing their options in other competing North American soccer leagues.
The Oklahoma City FC and Virginia Cavalry FC both decided to not join the league a year after being awarded an expansion franchise. And Ottawa Fury FC left the league for the USL after just two years.
It’s been ten years since the RFP process first began. Ten years the community has been waiting to get any sort of development on this underused piece of land. So hear the request well John Ledecky and Scott Malkin. Because that list of request is a checklist for winning hearts and minds.
For all of you who might want to head out and have your voice heard here’s what you need to know in terms of time and location:
Monday July 10, 2017
Elmont Memorial Library
700 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont
Again, this won’t decide whether the New York Islanders will get an arena or not. But it will give a good indication how ready the community is to welcome any construction especially one for hockey.