Nassau Legislature approves amended Coliseum contract

The Nassau County Legislature voted Monday to approve a modified deal to renovate the Nassau Coliseum, but the lease amendment does not include a measure that many community members had called for.

As News 12 has reported, developer Forest City Ratner is under contract to renovate the aging Coliseum and turn it into a state-of-the-art facility. The Legislature voted 17-2 Monday to pass an amendment to the lease that will up the cost of the renovations and allow foreign investors to contribute to the project.

Some Uniondale residents and local civic leaders had rallied Monday, calling for the Legislature to use Forest City's contract amendment as leverage to get the developer to invest in the surrounding community. Protesters say Forest City Ratner promised a community benefit agreement, or CBA, to provide money for jobs, beautification projects and other improvements in the area. But protesters claim that once the lease was signed, Ratner reneged on the CBA.

Forest City Ratner representatives say the firm never agreed to a CBA, and both the Legislature and County Executive Ed Mangano approved the Coliseum lease without a CBA provision.

However, County Legislator Kevan Abrahams told News 12 that Ratner made a verbal commitment to provide the community with improvement money.

Protesters gathered on the steps of the Nassau County building Monday and then headed to the County Legislature to make their views heard.

But the deal that the Legislature approved Monday does not include the CBA provision. Kevan Abrahams was among the two lawmakers that voted against the deal.

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