The weekend proved to be rather taxing one when it came to the Islanders hopes for a new arena at Belmont Park.
On Saturday, Islanders’ co-owner Jon Ledecky spoke with Newsday and the Connecticut Post to reiterate the organization’s laser focus on building an arena next to Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The interview was just the latest public push Ledecky has made to emphasize the team’s desire to build a state-of-the-art venue on the state-owned land and hammer home the idea that if they get the go-ahead they will be ready to go.
“We have no Plan B,” Ledecky told Newsday. “And we haven’t even thought about one.”
The comments echoed similar statements made by Ledekcy in October during a tour of the Islanders’ renovated practice facility in East Meadow. The new comments, which are the latest in a slew of appearances before the local media, came just days after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the topic during an interview with Mike Francesa on WFAN.
The NHL commissioner echoed many of Islanders’ ownership’s talking point during the interview, including the Ledecky and Malkin’s single-minded focus on getting the Belmont arena completed and the fact that there isn’t a backup plan if that their bid isn’t selected by New York State.
“We want to be crystal-clear that we love New York and we love the metro New York area,” Ledecky said. “We want to stay in the New York area and Belmont Park is the place for us.”
Again, the comments don’t differ much from what he told reporters at the end of October.
New York Arena Partners, LLC — a partnership between the Islanders, Oak View Group and Sterling Project Development — submitted a bid to build an arena at the state-controlled in September in response to a request for proposal. Two other groups submitted bids for the land, including New York City Football Club and Syosset-based Blumenfeld Development Group.
The Islanders bid is viewed as the favorite among some observers, but that doesn’t mean everyone within the surrounding community is keen on the idea. A small group, according to reports, of residents gathered on Sunday to rally in favor of another idea for the state land.
Around two dozen people rallied to show support of luring Amazon to the site to build the company’s second headquarters. Belmont Park was among a list of locations outgoing Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano suggested as a potential site for the Web-based retailer.
Cities across the United States are vying to lure Amazon and it’s unclear how realistic a chance the Belmont property would have against other areas in the northeast as well as the rest of the country. Still, that isn’t stopping some from dreaming.
“This community doesn’t want just jobs, we want careers,” county legislator Carrié Solages told Newsday.