Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rant #544: Long Island Beachcombers?

As part of the Nassau Coliseum plan on Long Island is a proposed minor league ballpark, which is as controversial a part of this plan as the rebuilding of the Coliseum is.

When the special vote for the overall $400 million project--including the $25 million baseball stadium--is held for this project on August 1, Nassau residents may not know details of a revenue sharing deal for the new ballpark.

Frank Boulton, the owner of the local Long Island Atlantic League team, the Ducks, has an attractive revenue sharing plan with neighboring Suffolk County, where the Ducks pay the county $1 per ticket and 25 percent of skybox revenue.

For non-Ducks events, the county gets 20 percent of gross concession revenue.

Boulton won out over the Mets and a local developer, and will have another team in this league, which is an independent minor league which plays roughly Double-A baseball.

The Ducks have been a major success in their 6,000-seat stadium in Suffolk County, and the hope is that Nassau residents will embrace the team as their nearby counterparts have.

But the first hurdle must be scaled. Nassau residents will decide whether to go ahead with this or trash it before it gets to the table.

The problem is the critics of the overall plan believe that borrowing more money during the recession--and putting the payback on the heads of already cash-strapped taxpayers--is not the way to go.

Proponents of the plan say that taxpayers may have to pay up front, but will receive a windfall later.

Who do you believe?

I believe that although the current plan isn't the best, it is better than the alternative, which includes losing the Islanders from the Nassau Coliseum, losing revenue from an area that will become full of blight once they leave and the current Coliseum falls into further disarray, and having an area that is completely underutilized in one of the most prosperous areas of the country.

I will vote "Yes" on my ballot, even though lots of questions remain.

And by the way, names have already been suggested for the proposed baseball team.

In Newsday today, several names have been suggested, including the Sounds, the Suburbans, the Beachcombers and the Expressway.

Those were names that I emailed to Newsday, and they are attached to a story about the proposed new ballpark.

Other names posted include the Teddy Bears, the Sharks, and the Railroaders.

I like my choices better.

I hope that Nassau County residents like the project proposal, and vote "YES" on August 1.

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