WOODBURY - As part of a final push to build a new Nassau Coliseum, county officials announced today that a portion of the $400 million needed for the project would be spent on a new track and field facility.
The county says it plans to use $5 million to build a 90,000-square foot state-of-the-art multipurpose facility, which would include an artificial field and a six-lane track.
"We have the ability to either create a sports entertainment destination that'll be the envy of the East Coast, or we'll have to face the reality of having a closed Coliseum and what that means to people," says County Executive Ed Mangano (R-Nassau).
The announcement comes less than a week before residents vote on a proposal to borrow $400 million to build a new Coliseum and a minor league ballpark.
Islanders owner Charles Wang says the project will keep the team at the Coliseum, and on the Island, until 2045, create jobs and bring in revenue.
"It cannot be politics as usual," Wang says. "It isn't about the re-election of any particular legislator, it's about how do we now rebuild Long Island."
Critics, however, say the plan is too risky in a time of economic uncertainty and could saddle taxpayers with $800 million in debt.
Wang says he would like to break ground on the hub project in June 2012.
Voters will decide on the future of the coliseum on Aug. 1.
For an interview with Charles Wang on the proposed Nassau Coliseum referendum, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.
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