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Belmont Park redevelopment on agenda for July hearing

The aerial view over Belmont Park in Elmont

The aerial view over Belmont Park in Elmont on May 30, 2015.  Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

State legislators will host a public hearing in Elmont next month on plans to redevelop Belmont Park, including a possible new arena for the New York Islanders.

The July 10 hearing at the Elmont Public Library will be the only opportunity for members of the public to weigh in on the project before Empire State Development, the state’s primary business development agency, issues a Request For Proposals to develop the state-run property.

State Sens. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill) and Leroy Comrie (D-Queens) and Assembs. Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) and Clyde Vanel (D-Queens) will host the event. State economic development officials will attend.

Kaminsky said he wants to provide the state with a “wide number of choices that will provide the community with the best possible outcome.”

Phillips said Elmont and Floral Park residents “deserve to have economic development at Belmont, but they also deserve a say in what that redevelopment will be.”

Kaminsky and Phillips want all Belmont development to include a full-time Long Island Rail Road station and a plan to manage increased traffic.

Last year, Empire State Development scrapped proposals, including a 25,000-seat soccer stadium for the New York Cosmos, after a four-year process. Elmont residents also successfully rallied against plans last year to put a video lottery casino at Belmont.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said the Islanders, who play at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, plan to bid on the RFP to build an arena at Belmont. The Islanders or Barclays can opt out of their 25-year licensing agreement in January.

State lawmakers said they expect the state to issue the RFP some time after the hearing.

Amy Varghese, a spokeswoman for the development corporation, declined to comment on the timeline for a decision.

“Development at Belmont will be an economic boost to the region and all improvements to the site will occur through the normal RFP process,” Varghese said. “We are continuing to finalize an RFP for the site, which will be released when it’s ready.”

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