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Letters: Islanders need to rethink Coliseum

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman talks to the media

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman talks to the media before the Winnipeg Jets' inaugural game against the Montreal Canadiens. (Oct. 9, 2011) Credit: AP

So National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman is blaming Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead for the Islanders' predicament ["NHL on Coliseum: We're outta here," News, April 21.

Both the county and town are willing to deal with the situation -- just not at the expense of taxpayers while a near-billionaire owns the team. True, the Coliseum is dilapidated, much like many of the county's buildings. But that can be attributed to the inefficient Nassau political machine not properly maintaining one of the wealthiest counties in the United States.

If the Islanders are to remain on Long Island, it must be done with no expense to the taxpayer. As for not properly maintaining something, let's ask Bettman how Islanders owner Charles Wang has done maintaining a once-storied franchise that has missed the playoffs for a fifth straight year.

John Connors, Massapequa

I am an ardent and lifelong Islanders fan. The renovation or replacement of the Coliseum must be approved.

I do understand that there is some trepidation about the costs and the shape of the economy. However, it takes visionary people to navigate these times. If the Islanders relocated, thousands of jobs would be sacrificed, and revenue from events at the Coliseum would be lost.

If the Islanders are permitted to relocate, it would be a shame, and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray should hang their heads. They will have done the wrong thing for their constituents and been self-serving in their petty beefs.

Norm Misrok, Bellmore

I live 10 minutes from the Nassau Coliseum. I've had Islanders season or partial season tickets for many years. And the prospect of moving this team to Brooklyn -- imperfect arena notwithstanding -- excites me so much that I almost wish Nassau County would just give up now on whatever efforts it is undertaking to build a new arena.

The suburban sports model is finished. So many winter teams that once played in the suburbs, like the New Jersey Nets, have concluded that an arena surrounded by a sea of asphalt, dependent on gasoline consumption, is a dead end.

The revival of downtown areas that once seemed doomed -- like Brooklyn -- has opened up the possibility of teams thriving again in the midst of millions of residents and thousands of businesses.

It's possible that Nassau could have competed against that if the Lighthouse project had been built. Instead, the Town of Hempstead killed it through its pathetic version of "visionary" zoning that screams out just how terrified our local leaders are of the economic dynamism that can create uncomfortable change, but is always needed for a region to move forward.

That's the town's prerogative. But don't expect a sports team to base its future on a county that is losing young people, driven away by a lack of housing options. This is a slow-building crisis with no end in sight.

We're smart enough to know how to take the Long Island Rail Road to Atlantic Terminal and walk upstairs. It's not a big deal.

John Kingston, Carle Place