In an email this week, the New York Islanders asked their fans to support a proposed Belmont Park arena project by signing a fan-created petition.
As part of a plan from the Islanders and project partners Oak View Group and Sterling Project Development, the team would build a new arena and surrounding development on land at Belmont Park. The Islanders are hoping to break ground in the coming months and open the arena in time for the 2021-22 NHL season, but the project is going through an environmental review phase, with final public approval possible in the second quarter of this year.
With that process still unfolding, a fan-generated petition has been posted online at change.org in hopes of amplifying support for the project. The Islanders have taken notice and brought it to the attention of their fans, emailing supporters on Tuesday with a request that they sign the petition. More from Newsday:
“Thousands of fans have already given their support for a home for the Islanders,” the email said. “Let’s keep the momentum going and show the world that the Islanders family is strong and thriving. Please support the Road to Belmont by signing the petition and sharing it with your family and friends.”
On top of that, multiple fans reported that during an event for season ticket holders Tuesday night, team representatives were going around with iPads, encouraging fans to sign the online petition. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 6,000 people had signed.
What’s behind the sudden push? Representatives from New York Arena Partners did not comment by publication time, and a team spokesman did not return calls.
The timing is a bit strange. The official public comment period on Belmont’s redevelopment closed on March 1. So, the e-petition likely won’t be included in any of the public documentation to show the response to the project, and probably wouldn’t be part of any official analysis or breakdown of support or opposition to the project.
A final environmental impact statement is expected to be issued by the end of June. Under the current plans, the arena would anchor a larger development that includes amenities such as retail, lodging, dining options, and a movie theater.
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