Members of a group representing maritime businesses Friday endorsed a proposal to borrow $400 million for a new Nassau Coliseum and minor-league ballpark.
"It is so important to have a new arena and convention center facility that allows for bigger and better boat shows for the members." said Chris Squeri, executive director of Amityville-based New York Marine Trades Association. "Residents should not have to go into Manhattan to enjoy shows and convention events."
A countywide referendum on the borrowing will take place Monday. County Executive Edward Mangano and New York Islanders owner Charles Wang say the arena project will create jobs and boost county revenues, but critics warn of property tax increases.
Temporary flooring over the hockey ice could provide convention and show space in the new arena. The proposal also includes a 90,000-square-foot track and field facility in Mitchel Field that could be used for conventions.
"Organizations from throughout the county and region have endorsed my plan to build a sports-entertainment destination center because they know the positive economic impact it will have for our residents and businesses," Mangano said Friday at the news conference in a boatyard in Freeport.
The 150-year-old association represents maritime businesses on Long Island and in New York City.