Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said Monday the $165 million face-lift to the Nassau Coliseum has given the New York Islanders a “path” for the team to return to their old home in Uniondale.
Mangano, a Republican who delivered his eighth State of the County address from the renovated arena, said the Coliseum has “modern amenities” for fans and athletes and the opportunity to increase its 13,900-seat capacity.
“I believe Nassau County has positioned itself for serious consideration by the team,” he said. “When you factor in the support of Long Island fans, I believe we are an attractive option for the Islanders.”
An Islanders spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
The Islanders moved to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015. But the team’s new ownership is reportedly unhappy with attendance in their second year in Brooklyn, along with obstructed sight lines and poor ice quality at Barclays.
Sources said the team could exercise an option in its 25-year contract in Brooklyn that would allow them to opt out by early 2018. The team’s ownership has looked at building a new arena next to Citi Field in Queens or at state-run Belmont Park, sources said.
Mangano met with Islanders’ co-owner Jonathan Ledecky in November to discuss the team’s return to the Coliseum, which reopens Wednesday with a Billy Joel concert.
Earlier in the speech Mangano unveiled a new policy program — a Civil Defense Initiative that would allow residents to receive two hours of training in active shooter situations, heroin awareness and homeland security.
Graduates of the program, Mangano said, will receive access to a “virtual neighborhood watch,” which includes live crime data and the ability to direct tips and concerns to Nassau police analysts. The program, officials said, will be funded from the Nassau Police Department’s budget.
In his 76-minute speech to the GOP-controlled county legislature, Mangano touted Nassau’s low crime rate and his administration’s efforts to combat heroin addiction, reduce borrowing and balance the county’s finances.
Mangano also defended his reforms to the county’s property tax assessment system, which has come under criticism as unfairly benefiting residents who grieve their property taxes. A Newsday report found that residents who don’t grieve assessments have seen their taxes rise by an average of 35.7 percent over the last seven years.
“Our reforms help reduce these inequities,” Mangano said.
Mangano’s speech made no mention of his October indictment on federal corruption charges of receiving bribes and kickbacks from Bethpage restaurateur and longtime friend Harendra Singh. Mangano, who has yet to say if he will run for a third term, has pleaded not guilty.
In his rebuttal to the State of the County, Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) called Mangano’s leadership “a nightmare” and said “Nassau taxpayers deserve better.”