From the New York Times comes a classic kerfuffle about the scale and content of redevelopment plans - for Coney Island. On the one hand is a big developer with big plans for big box stores, big hotels, a big ferris wheel and big robotic elephant strolling the boardwalk.
On the other hand is Mayor Bloomberg's modest proposal - plans developed after years of public meetings - that the developer calls doomed - not big enough. Snippets below.
The civic group, the Municipal Art Society, contends that the Bloomberg administration’s plan must be bigger and bolder to be successful, with three times as much land dedicated solely to outlandish amusements and an “eye-popping” attraction akin to the London Eye, a 443-foot high Ferris wheel.
“Coney Island will only be successful if we think big enough, with enough space for outdoor amusements to accommodate the potential attendance and to create a true economic engine,” said Vin Cipolla, president of the Municipal Art Society, who estimated that Coney Island could attract 3.4 million New Yorkers and tourists a year. ...
The issues are only further complicated by the recession, sharply
declining retail sales and the inability to get financing for any
project, regardless of who the developer is. Many residents of Coney
Island are more concerned with affordable housing, jobs and attracting
grocery stores to the area than the nuances of rebuilding the amusement
district, although no one wants it to close down. The beaches, a minor
league ballpark and what’s left of the amusements still attract
millions of summer visitors. ...
The two sides have been at loggerheads for over two years. (Developer) Mr. Sitt had planned on waiting for Mr. Bloomberg to leave office. But after the mayor announced his bid for a third term, Mr. Sitt began negotiating with the city over a possible deal. The talks foundered around Thanksgiving.
The fear is that ultimately little or nothing will happen on Coney Island.