For anyone who follows sports or goes to concert on Long Island, they have suffered. It’s not that Nassau Coliseum is a bad place. Just an arcane relic to another time and place. We can sit in its cold embrace and shiver, and then tell people, well its a piece of old time history. But let's be real. It's time for something new. When Charles Wang took over the Isles, he saw this immediately. That this would take a great effort. He, in the meantime, made attempts to refurbish and retool the coliseum. One of the first things he did was replace the scoreboard. Other things have followed. But, a bigger project was planned. And years later, it is not only planned, but moving forward.
The Lighthouse Project. It is a needed element to terribly misused and misguided hub that sits forlorn due to bureaucratic hodgepodges between local government, businesses and local towns. Previous administrations have simply ignored it. But Town of Hempstead’s Kate Murray and Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi have been far more attentive to Wang and his planning. Suozzi himself chose Charles Wang and Reckson Associates President and CEO Scott Rechler for the project over 2 years ago. But only now, since November, has it begun to hit stride.
But also now, it is starting to get some friction from local towns and school systems who are not thinking of the big picture for Long Island. They are saying: What is in it for me???
One example: The Hub Citizens Advisory has already started trying to get people to be concerned about the traffic that it will be created. Obviously, people have never driven before on Long Island, especially a few miles down further at Roosevelt Field Mall and the ton of stores and shops that require 3 exits to feed into it, to offset that traffic. We all decry the lack of planning for the area, yet look for things to complain about when they do. The Lighthouse Project will not create the need for "10 lanes" as they complain. But, yes, urban planning actually involves people utilizing the area. The argument: "well what if people come" is just simply baffling. That IS the point. And the answer is not to attack or complain...but to pro-actively put more effort into actually pigbacking the much needed project to make sure that attention is paid to it.
Another shining example is the Uniondale School District. The Lighthouse Project has some residential planning included. They wrote a letter to all parties based on the mere rumor that children of those residences might not going to those schools. So, they are trying to claim on the millions in anticipated property tax revenue. Meanwhile, the Uniondale school board president is a member of the Lighthouse Steering Committee so therefore already involved in the process. Above all, developers have nothing to do with any tax revenues . The state and the county decide these issues, and the move smells more like some old time Long Island "Well, I'd like something out of this" mantra that destroys many a plan and is one of the reasons that the area has languished in the first place.
This will not be all of the opposition, and even perhaps they are not opposition once everyone stops, breathes and really assesses what it is all about. It is about Long Island. Quality of life. And for us . . . hockey.
And it is why Islander fans, Long Islanders, and even just hockey fans need to hear the call to arms. It's time to get active and start making their voices heard. To make sure that this project does not stop due to the usual muck and mire of LI politics.
As our own Jon Jordan passionately wrote about, there is a site there for you to make a difference. I have seen no better thus far, however I will be talking about other groups as they form themselves. So, Long Island Lighthouse Supporters unite and get active! http://www.lilighthouse.com/
For more information about the actual Lighthouse Project: http://http://www.lighthouseli.com
Meanwhile, back to the Islanders
sent to Bridgeport for conditioning stint. So Mike Morrison
has been called up in the meantime.
Speaking of conditioning stints: <b>Aaron Johnson</b> finally makes his return to the NHL roster Saturday, after playing at Bridgeport tonight.
And on Monday's Carolina at Islanders, Monday at 2:05 pm, none other than Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will drop the puck in honor of Martin Luther King Day.
If anyone else drops on our defense, I say give him some skates and a stick.