New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on Long Island on Wednesday touting the New York Islanders new arena and the development at Belmont Park as a sign of how New York will come out even better in a post-COVID-19 world.
The Islanders’ new UBS Arena remains on track to open in time for the 2021-22 NHL season in the fall despite a pause in construction last spring during the height of the pandemic. The governor waxed poetic about the symbolism the $1.3 billion project has for the state.
“It’s going to be one of the best facilities in the United States of America. That’s what we’re building here,” Cuomo said. ” But that’s just the start of it. The Islanders arena is part of the Belmont Park redevelopment, which Jeff Wilpon and Sterling Equities is building. That’s going to be a full comprehensive redevelopment retail spaces, entertainment spaces, restaurants, hotels. A whole city unto itself generating jobs and economic activity for Long Island.
Cuomo added: “It is going to be an economic engine and catalyst for Long Island in a way we haven’t had in a long, long time. It’s the physical manifestation of what we have to do.”
Cuomo has been one of the biggest proponents for the redevelopment of Belmont Park and for the Islanders’ new home on the site. The governor has been at nearly every press event for the arena and played a hand in getting the Islanders back to Nassau Coliseum in the interim while their new venue was being built.
Cuomo toured the UBS Arena construction site before speaking publically at the site, images on the governors Flickr page show.
During the event it was also announced that workers at the Belmont site would be vaccinated through a partnership with Northwell Health. 900 doses have been earmarked for workers at the site with 50 being administered per day six days per week until May 1.
After May 1, vaccinations will be conducted three days per week.
“It’s important that our local workers are safe as they build this critical project for New York’s future during a pandemic,” Cuomo said in a press release. “The pandemic doesn’t have to hinder construction and development, but it’s vitally important to keep everyone as safe as possible as they conduct work that will be an important part of New York’s post-COVID future.”
Earlier today NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke at Belmont Park. A lot of talk about the #Isles new arena. Said it would open on time and appears he toured the @UBSArena construction site, according to photos from the Gov's flickr page. pic.twitter.com/ZqxBUBsg18
— Christian Arnold (@C_Arnold01) April 14, 2021
Also on hand was Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky, who had shown Cuomo around the UBS Arena construction site and lauded the efforts of the construction workers who had been working through the pandemic to build the team’s new arena.
“The men and women who every day throughout the pandemic have worked through the most challenging environment to get the job done,” Ledecky said. “It’s an amazing accomplishment and it’s due to your incredibly hard work. I’ve met so many of you visiting the arena site as progress has gone. Your commitment to the project and your, in many cases, love of the Islanders in talking about the team has really gotten me through and gotten our team through this pandemic.”
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