Brooklyn Daily excerpt -
Borough President Markowitz is now pitching his controversial Coney
Island amphitheater plan as an economic development project for the
neighborhood’s impoverished residential area — where locals have attacked the project and complained of being neglected in favor of amusements.
“All of this for them,” said Markowitz in a presentation to the City
Planning Commission about the project he hopes will permanent home for
his seaside summer concert series.
The Beep argued at the Oct. 23 hearing that sinking $50 million in city funds into transforming the empty, landmarked Childs Building on the Boardwalk into an upscale eatery and concert venue would benefit residents by ensuring continued public investment in the area.
“This will continue to focus the city’s attention on the dire needs
of Coney Island,” Markowitz told the commission, the oversight agency
which will vote on whether to approve the project in December.
Markowitz claimed that the new restaurant and concert space would
spark investment in new housing and local businesses by bringing even
bigger crowds into Coney Island. The pol said this would mean more tax
revenue, and would force the city to repair and maintain the People’s
Playground’s long-suffering public infrastructure.
Coney residents have complained for years that the local sewer system backs up and floods the streets during rainstorms — and to especially devastating effect during Hurricane Sandy.
“As more development comes, as more retail comes in, that means the
city will continue to invest money, because they’re getting money in
return,” Markowitz argued. “They’ll have to fix the infrastructure
because businesses and residents will need it.”
The Beep also said the new venue would provide 150 construction jobs
and 275 permanent positions for the residents of Coney Island, many of
whom live in public housing still struggling with mold and power outages
almost a year after superstorm Sandy.