Referendum approaches on potential new Isles arena

The residents of Nassau County will vote in a special election Aug. 1 on a $400 million referendum that would lead to construction of a new home for the New York Islanders.

If the referendum passes, it would be the first step toward the completion of a new arena for the Islanders to play in, as well as a minor-league baseball stadium nearby.

The plan, which has been endorsed by Islanders owner Charles Wang and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, would have the county borrow the $400 million through a general obligation bond.

Newsday has estimated the bond would raise property taxes about $58 per household in Nassau County, while the county's Independent Office of Legislative Budget Review suggests it could be as minimal as $13.80 a year.

The next step if the referendum passes would be approval of the plan by the 19-member county legislature, with 13 votes needed to pass. Construction on a new arena is expected to begin in June of 2012.

Wang has been trying to find a new place for the Islanders to play instead of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which opened in 1972.

The team's lease with the building expires in 2015, and the current plan would be for the Islanders to move into the new arena at the start of the 2015-16 campaign.

The most prominent of Wang's plans was deemed "The Lighthouse Project," but the owner was unable to gain approval for the plan from the Town of Hempstead.

The project -- which would have been privately financed -- came with an estimated cost of $3.74 billion that included a refurbished Coliseum, a minor-league baseball stadium and various other housing, hotels and businesses in the area.