Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Why Has the Coney Island Development Corp. Come Out of its Winter Coma?

Maybe Gowanus Lounge hasn't been paying attention, but the Coney Island Development Corp., from which nothing has been heard since redevelopment plans were announced last September, seems to have gotten a new lease on life. First, they announced on Tuesday that they're seeking proposals for 150 units of affordable housing and a community center. (Does this mean that something requiring them to make nice with the community is coming up? Call us cynical, but it often does.) Then, they put out a press release noting that they've hired the Doe Fund to "provide supplemental sanitation and clean up services" on Surf Avenue and on the Boardwalk.

Okay, so maybe CIDC is simply doing what CIDC was created to do. Or, perhaps, as noted above, they're making soothing cooing sounds in the hope of masking the noise they're about to make. (Check back in three-four weeks.)

Now, about the subject of santiation, take a close look at the icky photo above so that you can judge the noxious state of sanitation in Coney late in the afternoon on Memorial Day. Yes, it was crowded. And, yes, people were busy stuffing their faces with hot dogs, fries and every other clog-your-arteries fried thing around. But, why in the name of (fill in your personal Higher Power here) wasn't anyone picking up the garbage? Did people have the day off? For the love of (fill in your personal Higher Power again, here), boardwalks--especially Coney Freaking Island--are one place where you don't observe national holidays in summer.

As for the Doe Fund, it's a worthwhile undertaking, despite the fact that the CIDC is probably just trying to soften up the community for the kill of a final development proposal and all that will go with it. It's a transitional housing program for the homeless that provides jobs and social services for its residents. Eight people from the Doe Fund will be working Coney on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 9-5, cleaning up sidewalks and the boardwalk, emptying trash bins and doing other clean up work.

GL can only say one thing to the Doe Fund people: Coney Island needs you. Badly. Also, do you think you could talk to someone at the Development Corporation, now that they seem active for the summer season about the deplorable state of the boardwalk itself? Maybe they need help finishing the renovation before someone gets hurt on the thing?

Meanwhile, with a revised plan due by July 1 from Thor Equities, we're guessing we haven't heard the last of the newly revived CIDC. One senses that they're probably doing speed typing and emailing exercises in the CIDC office to get ready for the challenges ahead.



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