Mangano seeks state funds for Coliseum

Aerial view of the Nassau Coliseum and surrounding Aerial view of the Nassau Coliseum and surrounding grounds. (Nov. 3, 2010) Photo Credit: Kevin P Coughlin

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Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has begun to push for state funds to assist in the development of the 77 acres surrounding Nassau Coliseum.

Mangano met with representatives of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council -- and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo himself -- in Albany on Tuesday to begin a push to gain state funds for developing the Coliseum site. In an interview Wednesday, Mangano said a combination of state funds and private financing could be the answer to keeping the Islanders in Nassau County and creating a "sports-entertainment destination."

Ten councils across the state are planning to evaluate proposals for economic development that will compete for money from a pot of $200 million in state aid. Combining some of those funds with some private money from an interested developer could result in a mixed-use development, with a new sports arena and parking garage at the site, Mangano said.

"We plan to submit a very aggressive plan to compete for the pool of money that's available," Mangano said. "We believe the state's financial support could be enough to then produce a privately financed model for the remainder."

Mangano's new direction comes a day after a task force initially formed by the Association for a Better Long Island, a development group, said it would not be submitting a plan to the county because its members were unable to achieve a consensus. Mangano said he had been waiting for that plan before moving forward, but now plans to focus on working with the local council, which has a subcommittee specifically focused on the Nassau Hub.

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Mangano said Wednesday that to date, he had not received any fully privately financed offers for the site. He confirmed that he has met with The Cordish Companies in Baltimore, a developer that has done sports-related projects in Philadelphia and elsewhere, a meeting he called "productive."

Mangano said he has spoken with Islanders owner Charles Wang to inform Wang about the county's strategy and timetable. Islanders senior vice president Michael Picker did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

Proposals to the local council are due by the end of October, and the council has to submit its choices to the state by Nov. 14. Cuomo is expected to make his decisions in December, Mangano said.

If the county is given a piece of the state funding, Mangano said, he would then produce a request for proposals.

"The state's assistance could jump-start this," Mangano said. "I believe that with the state's support of our proposal, we could see a development in 2012."

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