Former Town of Hempstead supervisor Kate Murray defended her involvement in the Lighthouse Project, which resulted in the New York Islanders’ move to Brooklyn.
NASSAU — Former Town of Hempstead supervisor Kate Murray spoke Wednesday about her role in the New York Islanders’ departure from Long Island.
“This was not a decision about the Islanders,” Murray told Rich Barrabi of News12 Long Island. “It was about the development around the Coliseum.”
In 2007, Islanders owner Charles Wang proposed the Lighthouse Project, a $3.74 billion plan that would have transformed Uniondale, N.Y. into a modern suburban area. The proposal included a five-star hotel, various stores and restaurants, and an athletic complex.
Under the proposal, Nassau Coliseum would have undergone massive renovations.
Instead, county voters rejected the proposal in an August 2011 referendum. Murray, who was serving as town supervisor at the time, has been blamed for blocking the proposed development.
Murray, 56, announced that she is running for town clerk on Tuesday night. She previously served in this role from 2001 to 2003.
In 2015, Murray was unsuccessful in her bid for Nassau County District Attorney. Writing for Newsday, Randi Marshall later opined that Islanders fans were the first fanbase to ever influence a district attorney election.
“But [Nassau County District Attorney Madeline] Singas recognized the power of the base, and encouraged it,” Marshall wrote. “And yesterday, Isles fans may not have made the crucial difference but certainly contributed to her surprisingly large margin of victory.”
Murray is hopeful that she will have better luck in 2019. “The second time I hope is sweeter than the first time,” she told attendees at the Republican Party convention in Hicksville. Donald Clavin, the Hempstead Receiver of Taxes, will run for Town Supervisor with Murray on the GOP line.
Speaking to Barrabi, she suggested that fans might be willing to overlook her role in the Islanders arena situation because it has been nearly a decade since the doomed project and the club is currently in first place. “Time moves on, the Islanders are doing great, they are playing a good number of games at the Coliseum,” Murray said Wednesday. “I always wanted that.”
On social media, Islanders fans vowed not to forget Murray’s involvement in the doomed project. “We’re coming for everyone this year — John Tavares, Kate Murray, every last doubter and their dogs, Lord Stanley … #isles” tweeted Jeff Capellini, an editor and producer for CBS New York.
“#isles fans. It’s time for a call to arms once again. Kate Murray actually is trying to run for public office again, this time for Town Clerk,” tweeted the user FrankTVoice. “We HAVE to vote to keep this small minded ignorant piece of garbage out of public office. @NYIslanders DON’T LET HER COME BACK!!!”
The Islanders moved to Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season, but returned to the Coliseum for 21 games this season. The club announced a $1.2 billion plan to build a new arena at Belmont Park for the 2021 season.
Hempstead voters will head to the polls Nov. 5 to elect local officials.