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LI Association asks NY to help Islanders return to Coliseum

An Irwin Seating worker installs seats in the

An Irwin Seating worker installs seats in the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The head of Long Island’s largest business organization is asking Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s economic development czar for assistance in helping lure the New York Islanders back to the renovated Nassau Coliseum.

In a letter Thursday to Howard Zemsky, head of the Empire State Development, Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association, said the state could help make the Coliseum, more “attractive” to Islanders ownership.

For example, the state could fund a bus rapid transit system to connect the Coliseum to the Mineola and Hempstead Long Island Rail Road stations, or provide grants and tax credits to expand the size of the arena. The state is already investing in a parking garage and a bio-tech park around the Coliseum.

A spokeswoman for the agency said it is reviewing the letter.

The remodeled Coliseum will have 13,000 seats for hockey, but county officials say the building could be retrofitted to add back 2,000 seats.

Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, the entity spending $130 million to renovate the Coliseum, declined to comment.

Law also discouraged Zemsky from funding an arena at state-run Belmont Park.

“It makes no sense to support construction of an arena less than 10 miles from the new Coliseum,” Law wrote. “The New York Islanders belong in one place — the Nassau Coliseum.”

Newsday reported that Islanders owners have had discussions about building a new arena next to Citi Field in Flushing or at Belmont in Elmont.

The letter comes after Newsday reported Monday that Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano met in November with Islanders owner Jonathan Ledecky to discuss the team’s return to the Coliseum.

Management of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where the Islanders have played the past two seasons, are encouraging the Islanders to opt out of its 25-year license agreement with the arena and move back to the Coliseum, according to sources familiar with the conversations.

The team and Barclays Center each have the ability to opt out of the deal in January 2018.

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