It was disturbing, if not bizarre, to see Nassau Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont) and staffers with deflated soccer balls outside the governor’s office in Manhattan .
Solages says he “wants development in Elmont, but not just anything,” and what he really wants is “sustainable development.” He did not elaborate on what would be “sustainable.” We’ve heard this before.
The New York Cosmos plan to invest $400 million to build the Elmont stadium. Chief operating officer Erik Stover told the website Empire of Soccer that the team would pay rent and real estate taxes on the mixed-use development at a time when the county could lose a lot of revenue from the Islanders’ departure from the Nassau Coliseum in 2015.
Other “experts” say the team would face an uphill battle to turn a profit. I agree. But the only way for the team to survive is to develop what people want. If Solages had attended the Cosmos sold-out opener at Hofstra University, he would have seen that people from all backgrounds and communities do want a place to watch professional soccer in Nassau County. It’s a shame he’s advocating for a policy that would deny them that opportunity.
Soccer is clearly a growing sport; attendance increases each year and so does its popularity in polling. While the no-growthers push skepticism about a plan that would inject millions of private dollars into the local economy and create thousands of jobs, Nassau’s taxpayers and soccer fans are fortunate that the New York Cosmos have the vision to take a chance on Long Island.
Mike Bruschini, Glen Cove