Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) announced Friday his support for Charles Wang's proposed Lighthouse project, stressing the importance of keeping the Islanders on Long Island.

Skelos joins a list of prominent Democrats in backing the plan, such as Gov. David A. Paterson and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of Mineola.

In a statement, Skelos said, "The Lighthouse project is a critical component in our efforts to strengthen the regional economy and build a modern, first-class facility that allows the Islanders to continue to call Long Island home."

"As a hockey fan," the statement continued, "I am confident that any remaining issues that would prevent this from happening can be resolved so we can move forward with this project and bring the Stanley Cup back to Long Island."

A fellow Republican from Hempstead Town, Supervisor Kate Murray, has been criticized for not endorsing Wang's plan for the site. She said this week that she wants to see development at the site and is hoping to discuss "scaling down" the plan with Wang.

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"We want to keep the Isles here, too," she said Friday. "That's why we've reached out to the developer to meet and discuss outstanding issues and modifications to the plan."

Critics, including the developers, have said the town has purposely delayed the project's environmental review, which must be approved before the development can proceed.

Town officials say getting the project to its public hearing after just 20 months is unprecedented and there are still outstanding legitimate environmental concerns.

Wang hopes to build a $3.8-billion mixed-use development that would include a $320-million renovation to Nassau Coliseum, along with 42 buildings containing residential, retail and office space.