Empire State Development votes Yes! Yes! Yes! to Belmont Park arena project

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The Empire State Development board unanimously voted in favor today for the $1.3 billion project for the new Islanders arena at Belmont Park.

Approval for the new arena and entertainment complex means work could begin as early as this month. Developers of the project plan to build a 19,000-seat arena, upscale shops, restaurants and a hotel on the vacant property at Belmont.

The approval paves the way for the return of the Islanders from Brooklyn.

Supporters like Tiffany Capers, of Elmont, say the project would be an economic boost for the Elmont area.

"I'm looking forward to the business opportunities coming to Elmont and the increased economic opportunities and the increased property values," says Capers.

The project is expected to generate an estimated $858 million in revenues and create thousands of jobs.

Earlier this week, leaders in the surrounding communities, including Floral Park, asked the state for additional time to mull over the project. They expressed concern over increased traffic, noise and light pollution.

The Franchise Oversight Board, which owns the land, still needs to approve the state's environmental review before construction can begin. That vote is expected in a matter of weeks.

Floral Park village mayor on Belmont Park arena: 'It will hurt us'
Floral Park mayor, residents voice displeasure about new arena, LIRR station plan

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