Essex Co. exec wants competing Izod Center closed

Some Essex County heavyweights want the Izod Center shut down, saying it competes with Newark's new Prudential Center.

"They have [the family attraction complex] Xanadu, which is supposedly going to provide 20,000 jobs," Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo says of Bergen County's Meadowlands Sports Complex. "They have the Giants and Jets stadium, they also have the racetrack."

DiVincenzo and others want the state-subsidized Izod Center, which is three miles away from the Prudential Center, shut down in order to promote economic growth in Essex County.

Officials claim past governors have promised to do just that in the event Newark received a new venue.

"What I'm asking the governor to do is to appoint an outside accounting agency to go in there to actually review the records to see if they're making money or losing money and then we'll take it from there," DiVincenzo says of possibly closing the Izod Center.

Some patrons have mixed feelings. "If it's bringing in some money, it's not hurting anyone. Leave it there," Toms River resident Kosta Vasilakis says. "[If it's not making money,] shut it down and get rid of it because there's enough eyesores in New Jersey."

Gov. Jon Corzine says now is not the time to consider closing the center, which is expected to bring in $2.2 million this year. Corzine says the Nets are in a contract to play there until their new arena is completed in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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