Mayor Bloomberg Announces Strategic Plan For Future of Coney Island
Mayor Commits Additional $50 Million to Carry Out Implementation, Raising Total Funding Commitment to $83.2 Million.Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today unveiled the strategic plan for Coney Island, which will transform the area into a year-round entertainment destination with seaside attractions and a stronger residential community. The Mayor also announced an additional $50 million to implement the plan after previously pledging $23 million. Combined with the Brooklyn Borough President’s $7 million and Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s $3.2 million, a total of $83.2 million is now dedicated to making improvements to the area. The Coney Island Strategic Plan calls for enhanced entertainment attractions that take advantage of the area’s unique appeal, a new community center for job training and recreational uses, and the increase of affordable housing on vacant City-owned land. Borough President Marty Markowitz, Council Member Domenic M. Recchia Jr., Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff, Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) Chairman Joshua Sirefman and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined the Mayor for the announcement on Coney Island’s historic boardwalk. “Coney Island holds a special place in New York City’s history, and the redevelopment plan will celebrate its unique character while ensuring a spectacular future through infrastructure improvements, enhanced public spaces and appropriate development of vacant property,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We will capitalize on key assets such as the beautiful waterfront and KeySpan Park while attracting diverse new businesses that will transform Coney Island into a year-round visitor destination. Our collective commitment of $83.2 million will jumpstart the infrastructure improvements required to attract the kind of private development partners necessary to make these goals a reality. This has been an extraordinary planning effort over the past two years, and I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to bring us to this important milestone.” “Coney Island has been much imitated but never duplicated,” said Borough President Markowitz. “This plan will preserve Coney’s famed freakishness and fun-loving spirit, while residents and businesses benefit from their neighborhood’s rebirth as a 24/7 tourist and family destination. The whole world knows that Coney Island is the ultimate in American character and funk. Coney Island has been called America’s playground and it will be so again.” “I am thrilled that in collaboration with Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Miller, the Coney Island Development Corporation has produced a brilliant and visionary strategic plan for the future of Coney Island,” said Council Member Recchia. “Coney Island has always been New York's playground and I am confident under the guidance of this plan, Coney Island will once again be the playground of the world.” The $83.2 million public investment will be used to make necessary infrastructure and public environment improvements. These include the creation of new streets and open space, better parking and transportation solutions and site preparation work, along with targeted projects that reflect the character of Coney Island such as improvements to the aquarium, parachute pavilion and the construction of the community center. It is anticipated that these public improvements will lead to more than $1 billion in private investment over the next 10 years, creating about 2,000 permanent jobs and 10,000 construction jobs in the area over the next 20 years. As part of the next phase of the plan, the Department of City Planning will work with CIDC to refine the zoning strategy by setting design guidelines and determining the appropriate square footage for entertainment, retail and hotel space as well as the number of residential units and square footage of new parks and open space, while also ensuring the protection of the existing amusements. Mayor Bloomberg, working closely with the City Council and Borough President Markowitz, established the Coney Island Development Corporation in September of 2003 to develop and implement a comprehensive planning process and economic strategy for Coney Island. The 13-member board held dozens of meetings with community constituents including amusement operators, local businesses and residents, and held numerous public outreach meetings to ensure that all facets of the Coney Island community were represented in the planning process. The vision for Coney Island in the plan includes:
- The transformation of Stillwell Avenue into Stillwell Midway, a spectacular public open space connecting existing amusements with new development.
- A redesigned Steeplechase Plaza incorporating new open space around the iconic Parachute Jump between KeySpan Park and the boardwalk. It will feature the winning design of the Parachute Pavilion Design Competition by the London team of Kevin Carmody, Andrew Groarke, Chris Hardie and Lewis Kinneir.
- New entertainment uses and retail amenities east of KeySpan Park that will further support the existing amusement attractions.
- An increase of year-round activity on Surf Avenue including the possible addition of a hotel and spa.
- The establishment of a multicultural community center that will contribute to making western Coney Island a vibrant residential neighborhood and provide essential job training and community services.
- The development of affordable housing on City-owned property in the residential area.
- Improving the public environment and making improvements to both Surf and Mermaid Avenues.
- Enhanced boardwalk activity with added cultural activities, changing facilities and connections to the beach and boardwalk.
- Better integration of the New York Aquarium with the adjacent amusement area by building on the aquarium master plan.
- Improvement of the area’s parking and transit infrastructure.
Design and implementation of the public components of the plan will begin immediately, with the majority of the projects expected to be completed in the next few years. For example, it is anticipated that improvements to the boardwalk will be completed by the end of 2007, while the revamped steeplechase plaza, the redesigned midway and the community center will be built by 2009. “This comprehensive plan takes advantage of Coney Island’s incredible waterfront location and historic past, while providing a substantial and sustainable basis on which we can build a very promising future,” said CIDC Chairman Sirefman, who also serves as Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel Doctoroff. “Special thanks go to Borough President Markowitz, Councilmember Recchia, Congressman Nadler, the CIDC board and the many members of the community for their tremendous support, cooperation and input that made this plan possible. I am extremely grateful for the countless hours and the incredible dedication of all the members of the Coney Island Development Corporation.” The amusements and seaside attractions have been drawing visitors from all over the world for more than a century. According to the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce, an estimated 5.3 million people visit the area via public transportation each season. In recent years, the City has invested $39 million for the construction of the highly successful KeySpan Park baseball stadium, and $18 million toward the restoration of the Riegleman Boardwalk and construction of new comfort and lifeguard stations. Last month, Mayor Bloomberg announced the City’s plan to acquire the historic Bishoff & Brienstein (B&B) Carousell for $1.8 million to make sure this wonderful attraction remains in Coney Island. The 50-horse amusement attraction has been a fixture on Surf Avenue for over 70 years and will be restored and preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. In addition, the Metropolitan Transit Authority completed a $240 million renovation of the Stillwell Avenue subway station, and the New York Aquarium is currently undergoing a $45 million master plan and renovation.