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Islanders Arena Public Comment Period Extended

New York Islanders Belmont Park Arena Rendering

Officials are extending the public comment period for a proposed New York Islanders arena project, moving the deadline back to the beginning of March. 

The Islanders are partnering with Oak View Group and Sterling Project Development on a plan at Belmont Park that includes a new arena. Estimated at $1.2 billion, the development would have the arena as its anchor, with surrounding amenities including retail, lodging, dining options, and a movie theater. The team has been hoping to begin construction with May, with the arena opening in time for the 2021-22 NHL season.

As part of the ongoing planning process, Empire State Development staged public meetings last month and has continued to accept comments in writing. The period for written comments was originally slated to end next week, but it will now be pushed back to March 1. While this gives the public more time to weigh in on the proposal, it will not affect the timeline on a final environmental impact statement. More from Newsday:

The extension comes a month after the state’s economic development agency hosted three days of public hearings in Elmont in which community members expressed concerns over the size of the Islanders’ project, a lack of mass transit options and the likelihood for increased traffic congestion.

The Islanders’ project calls for a 19,000-seat arena and 435,000 square feet of retail space, with restaurants, a movie theater and a 250-room hotel.

Empire State Development, the state agency which is coordinating the Islanders’ project, has said a final environmental impact statement is due as early as April. ESD said Monday this extension, which it granted following requests from the community, doesn’t change that timeline.

“The Belmont Redevelopment Project is a transformative opportunity for Long Island,” ESD spokesman Jack Sterne said. “We take New Yorkers’ feedback seriously, and that’s why we are extending the public comment period until March 1st. We look forward to working with local residents, elected officials, community leaders, and our partners in government to ensure this project is successful.”

As noted, the Islanders have been hoping to debut the new arena for the 2021-22 NHL season. If that pace can be established and maintained, the 2021-22 season will be a busy one when it comes to NHL arenas, as it is also when a Seattle expansion franchise is slated to begin play at a dramatically overhauled KeyArena.

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