Tuesday, March 20, 2007

City Again Calling For Coney Beach Attractions

Image by daltonrooney (Flickr.com)

The city's Park Department is trying again this year to lure contractors to operate a few typical beach sports and attractions. They are not quite sure why they did not get responses to their bid requests last year for action-packed water sports attractions like the 'banana boats' rides or parasailing. This time around the agency is hoping for rock-climbing walls, rappelling walls, trampolines, ropes courses and trapeze, according to the recent request for bids released.

As the NY Daily News reported:

Bids are due in mid-April, but agency officials couldn't say whether things would be up and running by summer. A similar request last year drew no respondents, but the agency has increased advertising and outreach efforts. The hope is that what is currently a lightly used parcel in Steeplechase Plaza near KeySpan Park just off W. 19th St. will become an extension of the amusements east of Stillwell Ave. - some of which have been cleared by developer Thor Equities as it bids to develop housing and rides in the area. But there may be a deeper problem. Despite ongoing efforts to
revitalize the neighborhood's amusement district and convert it to year-round operations, business is still very seasonal. That could make it hard for an operator to recoup the initial investment required for a business - which one veteran operator estimated at roughly $1 million.

"It sounds like they would want a fortune just to go in there," said Rich Welter, a former Long Islander who now owns Sunset Water sports in Key West, Fla. "At 50 bucks for a parasail ride, you've got to do a lot of rides to make it happen."
While several bidders showed up for a site tour in Coney Island last week there is no mention of what has been proposed or planned. And perhaps it may seem difficult for the any contractors to be inspired to place any offers with the uncertainty of what may happen in Coney Island while the big developer is working out with the city their own plans.

Parks set on Coney ad-venture [NY Daily News]

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