Coliseum task force can't agree on plan

The Nassau Coliseum. (July 6, 2011) The Nassau Coliseum. (July 6, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

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Less than a week after unveiling a $346 million plan for the area surrounding Nassau Coliseum, the task force initially formed by the Association for a Better Long Island has decided not to submit that plan -- or any other -- because of disagreements within the group.

Instead, individual members will submit ideas to County Executive Edward Mangano this week, task force chairman and ABLI board member Alan Eidler said in a statement Tuesday.

"It should come as no surprise that at the end of the day there is no overall consensus on direction," Eidler said.

The announcement came just hours after Hempstead Town Attorney David Levy asked to be removed from the task force, saying the group's mission had "morphed" from advising Mangano on a request for proposal to issuing a plan of its own -- and he did not want his name included on any recommendations to the county.

Eidler's statement said the next steps are now up to Mangano, with the help of a Hub-related subcommittee of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council.

Mangano and New York Islanders senior vice president Michael Picker did not immediately return calls for comment.

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Council co-chairman and Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz applauded ABLI's decision and said the subcommittee would work with Mangano, the county legislature and the Town of Hempstead.

"Our goal is not to issue a white paper," Rabinowitz said. "Our goal is to . . . try to develop an RFP which can attract realistic developer interest and then result in real development at the Hub."

The ABLI task force, which includes government officials, private business leaders and advocates, last week released a detailed plan for the 77-acre site, with a renovated Coliseum, a minor league ballpark, an indoor ice rink, a parking garage and retail space. But members said there was never a full consensus on the plan, produced by West Hempstead architect Angelo Francis Corva.

Corva who said he was "surprised" by the task force's decision, said he likely would submit the plan to Mangano anyway. "I think there's been too much effort put in," Corva said. "This has to be pretty heavily considered as an alternative."

Eidler said in his statement that the task force could not agree on whether to submit a specific plan, whether to include mass transit options, or on the mix of housing and retail. The group, he said, did agree that any plan for the site should involve no public funding and "no Manhattan density" -- and had to conform to Hempstead's zoning code.

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