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From The Desk Of NY State Senator Jack Martins

Is Belmont Cosmos Country?

Do you recall being in one room and hearing the theme music for your favorite television show emanating from the living room?  I liken it to a trumpet call as we scrambled to take our places in front of the old boob tube. 

For me, and maybe many of you, I can still recall the distinctive beat that summoned me weekly to WOR (we knew it simply as channel 9) to watch the bad boys of soccer – the New York Cosmos.  

This was the team that broke New York and really, North America, onto the world soccer scene; a team that imported world-class athletes like Georgio Cinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer, and of course, the immortal, Pele.  Until that time, soccer was virtually non-existent in the United States, a game our parents tried to dial in on the fuzzy UHF in vain.  

Then along came the green and yellow shirts who fired our imaginations and launched America’s love affair with “the beautiful game.”  Today, soccer is one of the most played sports among young people in the United States and many say it started with the Cosmos.     

Over the past two years, I have been working with the greater Belmont community regarding redevelopment of the Hempstead Turnpike corridor and, specifically, the south lot of Belmont Park.  There have been many suggestions, some good, some not so good.

I guess that’s why I’m so eager to let you know that through our efforts, the new, reincarnated New York Cosmos have officially proposed building a $400 million professional soccer arena right here in Nassau County.  It’s a dazzling state-of-the art venue and the ambitious plan includes shops, a community park, several restaurants and a hotel, all to be built on that very same, underutilized, south parking lot at Belmont.

Having just lost our beloved Islanders to Brooklyn, this plan comes as great news, not just for Long Island sports fans, but for anyone concerned about our local economy.  According to Long Island Business News, the Islanders’ 41 home games drew about 13,000 fans per game and generated more than $60 million in local spending.  Since they announced their move earlier this year, the best minds on Long Island have been busy trying to figure out just how to replace what they brought to the Long Island economy.  It’s a daunting task because in actuality, there’s virtually nothing that offers the predictable and recurring financial impact that an anchor sports franchise does. 

In that light, the Cosmos and the private investment they bring will create thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly, from the construction phase right through the creation of permanent jobs that come with running a world-class arena.  The project will also generate much-needed tax revenue for our communities and schools and it’s the kind of project that can jumpstart economic development along the Hempstead Turnpike corridor.

Besides the undeniable economic benefits, I believe that Long Island, which is home to 3 million people, needs a team it can call its own.  Teams tend to become integral parts of the landscape, partnering with schools, nonprofits, and local business to create opportunities for young people and to galvanize communities with regional pride.  Soccer’s immense popularity on Long Island makes it a perfect fit and who knows - we may even become a hotbed for local talent development.         

It’s a win-win for everyone.   Belmont was designed to accommodate over 100,000 people for the Belmont Stakes.  Ample parking and infrastructure already exist, so the proposal to construct a 25,000 seat stadium is an easy fit.  Belmont Park also has the benefit of an existing Long Island Railroad station and sits along the Cross Island Parkway with its own entrance and exit ramps already in place – making it incredibly convenient for anyone this side of the Hudson.  Just think my fellow sports fan, a day out without traveling to the Meadowlands!  I invite you to learn more about this proposal by visiting www.cosmosstadium.com.

We‘ve all heard the talk about economic development and job creation for decades.  Today, we’re seeing action.  I am proud to have secured the funding for the Empire State Development Corp. to conduct the study to explore development of the site because I’m tired of hearing that Nassau County, America’s first suburb, has had its day.  I don’t believe that for a minute.  Nothing is impossible.  This Cosmos stadium project is a perfect example and I truly believe it’s just the start of many good things to come.   

Success in these types of endeavors has a lot to do with our perspective going in.  Remember the old saying, “Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can’t, you’re absolutely right.”

News

Bank Robbery Suspects Arrested

Nassau County Robbery Squad detectives arrested two men in connection with a bank robbery that occurred on April 7 at 2:17 p.m. in Mineola.

Road improvement and storm preparation dominated the discussion of the Village of Mineola’s preliminary 2014-15 budget released last week. The proposed budget totals $19.33 million, a 1.38 percent increase from last year.

The tentative budget also represents a .34 percent tax increase from last year, when Mineola’s tax bump was .74 percent.

 

The village has budgeted almost $1 million for road and curb upgrades, Mayor Scott Strauss estimated. The road maintenance line in the budget received an $80,000 to increase to $580,000.


Sports

FC Mineola Wins Two

The BU10 FC Mineola opened league play with 3-0 win over the Hewlett Lawrence Blue Sonic on April 3. Mineola was led by Liam Going (two goals and an assist). The first goal came off a beautiful cross from Liam Russelman that Going sent to the back of the net.  Fifteen minutes later the Liam to Liam connection struck again when Russelman found Going open at the top of the box for another shot and score by the talented Mineola player.

 

Mineola’s final goal came midway through the second half as Gregory Kenney redirected a good cross past the Hewlett goalie. The back line of Peter Murphy, Luke Sommese and Brent Muessig controlled the defensive end of the field limiting the number of shots Hewlett took on goal and the few that made it through were gobbled up by keeper Andrew Pizzardi. Brian Heckelman, Phil Macchietto and James Teadore all contributed with stellar play at the midfield position.

Marissa Cotroneo

Senior Captain Marissa Cotroneo excelled at the Paul Limmer Invitation on Saturday, April 5, held at Mepham High School.  Cotroneo placed first overall in the 1500 meters in one of the most exciting, come from behind victories of the season.


Calendar

Village Meeting - April 16

Zoning Board Meeting - April 17

Egg Hunts and Fun Fairs - April 19


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com