Friday, January 11, 2008

Can The City Afford Its Plan For Coney?

The New York Sun has reported that Bloomberg is scrambling to "close a projected $3.1 billion budget gap in the city." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle's 'Real Estate Round-Up' column has responded by addressing what's on the mind of every one with an interest in the future of Coney Island:

For those who follow Brooklyn development, the big questions on everybody's mind are, will there be enough money for these projects once the cyclical economic downturn take effect, and will the next administration carry out development projects that have yet to launch? […]

The Observer notes that, in context with the city's expected budget deficit, Brooklyn Bridge Park at least has funding to get started, unlike other projects that are planned, then funded. Coney Island may be a little trickier and, as the heart of a neighborhood now half-filled with vacant land, involves higher stakes.

State Senator Carl Kruger is clearly a grandstanding, media-attention hungry politician, and is very likely in the pocket of corporate developers. Nonetheless, he is clever, and his slogan of 'How Much, How Long, Who Pays' strikes a certain chord (and probably would have struck a deeper chord, had he not gotten Coney and Brighton confused at Monday night's meeting). The city has never purported to fund the entire redevelopment of the Coney Island amusement area themselves, and ostensibly will negotiate the necessary private investment. All the same, this development project is a huge endeavor, and there is an undeniable fear amongst the public that the city will not be able to pull it together, that their beautiful artist renderings will remain a mere dream. Like any skilled rabble rouser, Kruger is appeals to the public's deepest fear.

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