Plans gel for interim Coney Island amusements
Temporary facility could open in 2010 and run for as many as seven years.
As the city pushes ahead with its plan for a massive multi-year redevelopment of a broad desolate swath of Coney Island, plans are quietly taking shape for a temporary amusement park on at least six acres near the boardwalk.
Officials are hoping to open the interim park by the summer of 2010, years before the planned rides, apartments and retail space that are all part of its redevelopment plan for the area would be built. The interim park would operate for five to seven years as needed infrastructure work, such as sewer and water lines, is completed that will allow the larger redevelopment of the area.
“The city is fully committed to making sure that Coney Island is open, Coney Island is active and Coney East is full of amusement,” said Lynn Kelly, president of the Coney Island Development Corporation, referring to the area within the development zone slated for rides and attractions.
With the closing of Astroland Park at the end of last summer, an amusement area that once covered some 60 acres is now down to just about five, city officials said. The temporary park would be built on land the city already owns, land it hopes to acquire in the coming months and on streets that it hopes to close and take off the city map.
Operators of amusement parks, including those who currently own land in the area, will be able to respond to a request for proposal to participate in the interim park. The city has not yet decided if it will choose a single operator or if multiple businesses will run the amusement.
Already, city officials are working to ramp up interest from amusement operators. Over a span of four days in November, officials met with 160 companies at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions expo in Orlando, Fla.
“Interim activity at Coney Island would be fantastic,” said Jasper Goldman, senior policy analyst at the Municipal Art Society, which has called for more land set aside for amusement than is presented in the city’s plan. “There’s unlimited possibility for temporary activities that would be great for the city.”
Thor Equities, which owns 10.5 acres on Coney Island, has resisted the Bloomberg administration’s plan to redevelop Coney Island, and negotiations to sell the land to the city broke down in November. The city wants to rezone the area for a mixed use development that includes amusement, retail space, hotels and housing.
Earlier this month, Community Board 13 approved the city’s redevelopment project, with 20 amendments, including one that would allow for a quadrupling of the size of stores. The plan is currently under review by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.