Saturday, November 10, 2007

Will the Coney "Park Land" Strategy Work?

Current Coney Parkland

Before anyone starts picturing a Coney Island Tivoli Gardens, there are many things that need to be resolved, most significantly getting approval to de-map some city parkland so that it can go to a developer (hint: the name rhymes with, uh, hit). The "parkland" in question is the KeySpan ballpark parking lot (not that one can have a baseball stadium without parking, even temporarily) as well as land under the (presumably to be demolished) Abe Stark ice rink. (Which could, in turn, explain why an ice skating facility appears on the current Wonder Wheel park property in the new city plan.) The move is at the heart fo the Bloomberg-Doctoroff plan, but it requires state approval and a lot of machinations that one can easily see falling apart. Here is the scenario as described by Neil DeMause on the Runnin' Scared blog:
The eight-acre, city-owned parking lot west of the Cyclones ballpark, which is currently mapped as city parkland (as is the stadium), would be demapped and readied for developers to turn into housing, parking garages, and stores. To meet the legal requirement that at least as much parkland be created as is eliminated, all 15 acres of land from the ballpark to the Cyclone, and from the Bowery to the boardwalk, would become public parkland. State legislation...would be required next spring to "alienate" the parking-lot site; the city would then transmogrify the amusement district into new parkland via its ULURP land-use process.
Other than looking forward to having fun with the concept of "alienated" parkland that is "transmogrified," all we can say is that we would not wager significant money on this working out according to any timetable. The lawsuits alone, should anyone wish to challenge the plan, could take time to resolve if the courts are asked to determine whether the amusement park, hotel and retail plan is a permissible use of city parkland.

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