Islanders' Belmont arena environmental impact results to be unveiled Thursday
The results of the environmental study of the Islanders’ Belmont arena project will be released Thursday, according to a notice on Empire State Development’s website.
ESD, the state’s primary business aid agency, has scheduled a special meeting for its board of directors Thursday in Manhattan to authorize the release of the draft environmental impact statement and schedule a public hearing to discuss its findings.
The agency has said the environmental study will address the project’s impact on traffic and detail plans for Belmont’s LIRR station, which currently operates only part-time, on race days.
An ESD spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
“My colleagues and I have been discussing with ESDC and the MTA the importance of having a robust plan for expanded LIRR service at the site, and I will look to see how the EIS speaks to that concern,” said state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), whose district covers the homes that border the southeast portion of Belmont.
The Islanders’ group is proposing an 18,000-seat arena, a 250-room hotel and an accompanying retail and entertainment center on the 43-acre parcel adjacent to the racetrack.
Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said last week the results of the environmental study, which began last spring, are not expected to include any significant obstacles that would delay the scheduled start of construction next May.
“I don’t think there are any showstoppers, from what I’ve been led to believe,” he said.
ESD awarded the development rights to the Islanders group a year ago this month and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said the arena will be ready for the 2021-22 hockey season.
The release of the draft environmental impact statement comes as some neighboring residents have questioned the scope of the project and what kind of impact it will have on rush-hour traffic.
“We can adapt to what the findings are and we will,” Ledecky said last week. “The whole thing is to stay on course and to be playing hockey at Belmont Park in 2021.”