Residents vow to keep developer from building new Islanders arena

Posted: Updated:
ELMONT -

A state panel gave the green light on a report detailing the environmental impact of a $1.2 billion plan to build a new Islanders complex in Belmont Park.

But many residents, including Elmont's Tammie Williams, are trying to halt the project. Williams says her fight against the proposed arena is a matter of life or death. Her 15-year-old son CJ has autism and sickle cell anemia.

Williams says the traffic congestion produced by the arena will keep her son from getting the medical attention he needs.

Several witnesses told the state panel Thursday that the environmental report did not adequately address their questions about traffic on and around the Cross Island Parkway and secondary roads along the Nassau-Queens border.

Others fear the billion-dollar arena and entertainment complex will destroy their suburban way of life.

The Islanders' project calls for a 19,000-seat arena, retail space, restaurants, a movie theater and a hotel. Developers have said construction could begin next May.

But Williams and many other residents say they'll fight to keep the developer's shovels from breaking ground.

Public hearings on the environmental impact will be held in January, after which several state agencies will have to sign off on the project before construction can begin.

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