Board votes down Coney Island amphitheater plans

From left: Marty Markowitz and 3052-3078 West 21st Street
From left: Marty Markowitz and 3052-3078 West 21st Street

Coney Island’s Community Board 13 voted down plans to transform the Childs Building on the boardwalk into an amphitheater, and the clock is ticking on a deadline to use funds allocated by the Bloomberg administration.

Borough President Marty Markowitz would be able to use $50 million set aside in 2010 for a $64 million amphitheater in Seaside Park that was halted by a lawsuit, but after December 31 the funds go back into public coffers and away from Coney Island.

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The local community board, concerned about noise, traffic, parking and infrastructure issues, voted 15-7 against the city’s plan, with seven abstentions. Some residents said in public testimony that they felt the plan was rushed, while others brought up the question of a Community Benefits Agreement, which would guarantee well-paid, full-time, year-round jobs for area residents, as well as regular public access to the building.

At issue is also the proposed relocation of the Boardwalk garden adjacent to the building, which has between 35 and 50 gardeners and has been active since 1998.

Though the board’s vote is being forwarded to the City Planning Department and Borough President’s Office, the city can press forward and seek City Council approval even without the community board’s backing. [Amusing the Zillion]Julie Strickland