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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Let's bring some excitement back to Uniondale
(Page 2 of 2)
As far back as I can remember, the Coliseum has been home to concerts, circuses and all manner of special events, but without a sports team the facility would be a financial disaster. Now that the Islanders are about to depart for Brooklyn, there has to be some legitimate sports activity in the new building to keep it in the black.

Whichever bidder is successful, they must be in a position to put basketball or hockey in the arena. As long as the team (or teams) is credible and not too low-level, local residents will give it strong backing in the hope that, someday, an NBA or NHL franchise will return to the building.

There is one nagging part about the history of the property that has to be kept in mind by the people who will make the final decision to choose an operator. Over the years, county officials have made many bad deals, with long-term leases and no return for the taxpayers. This time around it can’t be politics as usual. The chosen one has to be an entity that wins strong public approval, not another project that will sit empty and dark 20 years from now.

Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column? JKremer@liherald.com.

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