Hofstra University President Susan Poser has expressed concerns surrounding the proposed entertainment destination and casino at the Nassau Coliseum by Las Vegas Sands.
Officials from the casino and resort company said they entered into agreements to purchase the long-term lease of the area home to the Coliseum and, if approved, would be in control of up to 80 acres of property in Nassau known as the Nassau Hub.
Poser, the president of the university directly adjacent to the Coliseum, wrote in a guest essay to Newsday that a casino would exacerbate traffic, contribute to addiction and mental health tendencies in college-age students and would not guarantee an increase in revenue to the area.
“A casino at the Hub is not about the future, and it would not be an engine for economic and social prosperity,” Poser said in the essay. “It would be dangerous for adjoining neighborhoods, and create a nightmare of traffic and pollution, not to mention anti-social behaviors that often crop up around casinos.”
Poser agreed with former university President Stuart Rabinowitz’s stance on how impactful a revitalized Nassau Hub can be for the community while sharing his concerns brought up to Newsday in 2010 of a casino providing “short-term revenue, and long-term problems.” She also emphasized Hofstra’s interest to aid in the local community’s success in other ways outside of the casino.
“Hofstra has a vested interest in our community’s success,” Poser said. “The Hub offers an opportunity for mixed-use development that could create economic opportunity through research, innovation and office space, and answer Gov. Kathy Hochul’s call to build more affordable housing on Long Island.”
Hofstra is one of two colleges that directly border the Nassau Hub, with Nassau Community College located directly North of it.
Maria Conzatti, acting president of Nassau Community College, said she looked forward to hearing more about the Sands’ proposal.
“Nassau Community College’s advantageous location within the center of Nassau County provides students with convenient access to internships and career opportunities right within our educational community,” Conzatti said.
The wide array of students’ skill sets, she said, includes education in the culinary arts, hospitality management and cybersecurity sectors, to name a few.
Robert Goldstein, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, said Long Island has the makings of being a destination to showcase the company’s work to positively impact the community.
“Our company’s track record of driving significant economic benefits to the communities in which we operate and the meaningful relationships and partnerships we have created in each of those communities gives us a unique perspective on what it takes to develop transformative tourism destinations that positively impact the local community,” Goldstein said in a statement.
The $4 billion proposal includes a gambling casino, pending approval from the state, four and five-star hotel rooms, outdoor community areas and a “world-class live performance venue” that appropriately reflects the Coliseum’s history.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said he would not have been in support of simply proposing a casino, an idea that has failed on previous occasions in the county.
Sands officials also said the proposal for an entertainment destination would still move forward even if the state did not approve the casino.
Kevan Abrahams, the Nassau County Legislature’s minority leader, said he has been in touch with some who oppose the idea of having a casino at the site of the Coliseum, but also expressed his interest in learning more about what Sands plans to do with the space.
“As this process unfolds during the next several months, it is imperative for Sands Resorts to conduct extensive community outreach and then incorporate the feedback they receive into their proposal,” Abrahams said. “I’ve heard from many residents that oppose the casino aspect, and although I agree with that sentiment based on past casino projects, it’s important to listen to everyone so we can move forward together with all perspectives in mind.”