Friday, March 21, 2008

Is City "Backpeddling" on Coney Plan?

Wonder Wheel at Dusk

An item in The Real Estate from the Observer's Bradley Hope has created a small stir among the Coney crowd. He attended the panel discussion on The Future of Coney Island at the Museum of the City of New York on Wednesday and reports that there may be a change of strategy on the part of the city in terms of buying all the land in the amusement district and then leasing it to an operator. He quotes CIDC head Lynn Kelly as saying of the plan that "the different landowners could partake of all this." Given that we were unable to attend, we're lacking the context in which the statement was made, yet it's certainly interesting. Here's an excerpt:
Then last night, at a forum at the Museum of the City of New York, a city official acknowledged there were talks going on to reach some sort of agreement where the city would realize a remade amusement district in conjunction with the private landowners, which would represent a reverse from the November announcement. The official, Coney Island Development Corporation president Lynn Kelly, said she could not expand much beyond that, but did say of the plan that “the different landowners could partake in all of this.”

Why the shift since November? As often with development fights, local politics reign supreme. Some key colorful local elected officials greeted the city’s plans with some displeasure, with State Senator Carl Kruger vowing to block a crucial measure that moves around parkland designation. Mr. Kruger became an immediate outspoken opponent after the plan was unveiled, though he did not say much about it while it was being crafted in a relatively public manner.
There is a rundown of the meeting at Kinetic Carnival, but it does not mention Ms. Kelly's comment or any possible shift of plans. Another attendee said the comment was made in the context of the city's intention not to use eminent domain and did not represent a shift in plan or policy.

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