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Assemb. Solages urges hearings before Belmont RFP is issued

Assemb. Michaelle Solages said home and business owners

Assemb. Michaelle Solages said home and business owners in Elmont and Floral Park should have an opportunity "to share their vision" for the development of the state-run park. Photo Credit: James Escher

Assemb. Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) is calling on Empire State Development, the state’s primary business development agency, to hold public hearings before issuing a request for proposals to develop Belmont Park.

Solages wrote a letter Tuesday to ESD president Howard Zemsky, arguing that home and business owners in Elmont and Floral Park should have an opportunity “to share their vision” for the development of the state-run park.

“These communities have invested so much,” Solages wrote. “It is only right that your organization provide a forum for residents and stakeholders to address their opinions.”

ESD confirmed last month that it plans to issue a new RFP to develop Belmont Park. “We are continuing to finalize an RFP for the site, which will be released when it’s ready,” said ESD spokeswoman Amy Varghese. “We look forward to meeting with local elected officials in the coming future.”

Last year ESD scrapped proposals, including a 25,000-seat soccer stadium for the New York Cosmos, after a long-delayed, four-year process. Protesters argued the stadium would bring increased traffic but few benefits for residents. Elmont residents also successfully rallied against plans last year to put a video lottery casino at Belmont.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the New York Islanders, who play at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, plan to bid on the RFP to build a new arena.

Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which runs Barclays, notified the Islanders this week that it was triggering a contractual window to renegotiate the terms of its 25-year licensing agreement with the team. The sides have until Jan. 1, 2018, to renegotiate the terms of the deal. If a new agreement is not reached, the two sides can stay in the current deal or opt out.

Sens. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) and Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill) wrote to Zemsky last month, arguing that Belmont development must include a full-time Long Island Rail Road station and a plan to manage increased traffic on local roads and on the Cross Island Parkway.

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