Board Approves Plan For Islanders Arena At Belmont Park

Alec Gearty
August 08, 2019 - 5:08 pm

The New York Islanders will soon be able to call Belmont Park their home.

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During the Empire State Development meeting Thursday afternoon, the board unanimously approved the decision to move forward to build a 19,000-seat arena at Belmont Park. The project, including the arena, will cost an estimated $1.3 billion.

The Islanders left Nassau in favor of the Brooklyn-based Barclays Center in 2015. They've slowly made progress for their return to Long Island in the time since their departure. Last season, the Islanders played 12 of their home games at the revamped Coliseum. They'll continue to split time between both venues for the upcoming. The Islanders will play 22 games at Nassau Coliseum and 21 games at the Barclays Center during the 2019-20 season.

The Islanders remain confident in being on schedule in order to open up their new arena for the 2020-21 season.

Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky joined many of Elmont's townspeople to speak on behalf of the Belmont Park project at the ESD's Board Meeting throughout the afternoon. From passionate Islander fans, wanting their team to return "home", to residents hoping for an improved community, those who spoke pleaded how the redevelopment can bring forth a positive change to Nassau County. 

Ledecky previously stated how the plan was to break ground in Belmont "this summer."

Related: Graziano: Islanders Would Be Wise To Look At Boyle, Brassard

In July, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new Long Island Rail Road station that will be built at Belmont Park. The station will cost $105 million to build, including a reported $30 million from developers and $75 million from the state of New York.

The Islanders and developers will repay the state $67 million.

"The Belmont project will help drive the region's economy forward while building the Islanders a state-of-the-art facility at home on Long Island, creating thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic output along the way," Governor Cuomo said in a statement. "Now with the addition of the first full-time LIRR train station in almost 50 years, we will provide millions of visitors and fans a fast and affordable way to get there and continue New York's nation-leading investments in 21st century transportation infrastructure."

So what's the next step for the Islanders?

According to Newsday's Jim Baumbach, the Franchise Oversight Board still needs to approve the plan. Lawsuits could also arise at any moment in an attempt to thwart the project. If everything goes in the Islanders' way, a groundbreaking ceremony could soon be on the way to commemorate the historic moment.