The debate over whether the Izod Center should continue operating now that the nearby Prudential Center has opened might be cooling down, with the East Rutherford, N.J., arena’s most public opponent reconsidering his stance.
"What [Gov. Corzine] has to do is get an outside agent to do a review and see if the Izod Center is making money," Essex County executive Joseph DiVincenzo said during a press conference, according to The Record of Bergen County. "Because guess what? If it is, then I have to withdraw what I’m doing right now. Because I don’t want to hurt the state."
DiVincenzo has been critical of the state-run Meadowlands facility, formerly known as the Continental Airlines Arena, saying it was supposed to shutter upon the Prudential Center’s opening in Newark.
He has also suggested that a report from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which concludes the Izod Center will become a money generator, is flawed.
NJSEA chairwoman Pamela Miller said the politician’s actions were "very inappropriate" because he was endorsing the closing of a public facility in favor of a privately owned arena. Miller said she would gladly sit down with "Joe D" and show him the "real facts."
As for DiVincenzo’s contention that it was agreed the Izod Center would close, a spokesman for the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce told the paper those promises were made while the state sought to construct an arena for the New Jersey Nets in Newark. The promise became moot when the effort was scuttled in 2003.