The final stretch of the Islanders race to a new arena finally appears to be here.
The Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) is expected to vote on final approval for the Islanders $1.3 billion arena project at Belmont Park today. The six-member board of the ESD will meet in midtown Manhattan at 3 p.m.
The vote is one of the final hurdles for New York Arena Partners before they can begin work on the 43-acre site, which will bring the Islanders back to Long Island permanently. The Franchise Oversight Board, which ESD acquired the 43-acres of land at Belmont from last week, will still need to approve the environmental impact study.
“I’m committed to securing (the New York Islanders) a permanent, state-of-the-art home on LI,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran tweeted on Wednesday night. “Belmont will deliver thousands of good-paying jobs and spur growth in surrounding communities. But this is also about our pride as Long Islanders. The Isles belong here. Let’s get this done.”
As part of the project, a new Long Island Rail Road station will be built in Elmont to ferry fans to and from the game and serve the surrounding community.
Opposition from some in the surrounding communities remain. On Monday, 150 residents and civic leaders expressed their concerns for the project and called on the state to slow down the process to allow for more review of new elements, including the new LIRR stop.