Saturday, October 06, 2007

Recurring Boardwalk Nightmare: Who You Gonna Call?

As anyone who regularly walks on the boardwalk knows, the boardwalk itself is not in great shape. Many planks are loose, rotted, and splintered. In some cases, there are outright holes.

Though the New York Post is generally more known for their sensational headlines than for their solid local coverage, they have actually been doing a decent job of keeping on top of the issue. Back in July, they did a piece on the boardwalk's condition, in which they reported that:

In 2005 and 2006, seven suits involving injuries on the two-mile-long promenade were filed against the city, according to the Comptroller's Office. The suits seek millions in damages. In that same period, the city also shelled out $157,000 to settle nine cases involving boardwalk spills that occurred between 1997 to 2005. The injuries run the gamut from fractured ribs and legs to a broken nose.

The article also got into the cause of the situation, saying:

The Parks Department, which has a $1.5 million annual budget to fix all of the city's boardwalks, said it tries to repair as much of the Coney Island attraction as possible, but admitted shortcomings.

A couple weeks ago, The Post did a follow up article, in which they quote city officials as saying that it would take $200 million to execute their plan to fix the entire stretch of boardwalk from Seagate to Brighton Beach.

Jerry Nadler (no relation, though I am a fan) is apparently y working on securing funding:

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who helplessly witnessed a man injure himself after falling through the boardwalk a few months ago, is working with the Bloomberg administration to devise a plan to secure federal funding for a project that would get matched locally, said his district manager, Robert Gottheim.

The congressman also believes landowners along the amusement district - such as developer Joseph Sitt, who is proposing a controversial $1.5 billion entertainment complex - should be asked to help pick up the tab since they stand to benefit most

Asking Joe Sitt and Thor Equities to pick up part of the tab is not a bad idea at all. While the boardwalk is public space, it is also integral part of the redevelopment plans, and taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill to aid private development. If Thor wants to buy into Coney Island, they should also be obligated to pitch in with the boardwalk.

- post by Ben Nadler

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