Thursday, June 28, 2007

Coney Island Gets a $120K a Year PR Helper

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One bit of fallout from all of the attention being paid to the Coney Island plans of developer Joe Sitt and Thor Equities--and the public perception that this is Coney's "last year"--is that the Coney Island Development Corporation feels that it needs to bring in a hired PR gun. Sarah Ryley reports in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that the Coney Island Development Corp. has hired a public relations strategist for $10,000 a month to help bolster Coney's image. She writes:
“We’ve been overshadowed in recent months by other things, and we’ve got to get our strategic plan out there,” said Lynn Kelly, president of the city-funded Coney Island Development Corporation. The agency plans to step up its fundraising efforts soon for expensive projects like the restoration of the B & B Carousel, boardwalk and streetscapes. Kelly and other board members have in the past expressed concern that any apprehension about Coney Island’s future could hinder those efforts and keep visitors away during the transitional period.

The board unanimously voted to approve up to a $10,000 monthly retainer fee, for up to two years, for a marketing consultant who Kelly said could counteract that effect. The money would be paid out of the agency’s $150,000 annual consultant budget. That person would “still work in tandem with the city’s press office,” said Kelly, of the city Economic Development Corporation’s press staff.

Contrary to some perceptions that business in Coney is down, there is some sense that things are actually busier this year. There was apparently record attendance at the Mermaid Parade (it wasn't just our imagination). Diana Carlin, AKA Lola Staar, told the Eagle that "so many people are coming because they think it’s going to be the last year...Business has just been incredible [this season]." There is a bright side to every dark cloud.

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