Rendering of the proposed venue (Source: NYC Preservation Commission)
The New York City Council is set to vote on the on the $58 million proposal to convert the former site of Childs Restaurant in Coney Island into an amphitheater and public park today, the final scheduled meeting of the Council for the year.
The plan got the green light from the Council’s Committee on Land Use yesterday, according to Crain’s New York, and today goes before the full body.
Here are details from the Crain’s article:
The proposal for the Seaside Park and Community Arts Center project is being advanced by both the city’s Economic Development Corp. and an iStar Financial subsidiary called Coney Island Holdings LLC. Under the plan, zoning laws would be altered and permits granted to allow for the construction of an outdoor amphitheater along the boardwalk near West 21st Street, that could accommodate 5,099 people. In addition, a public park would be built and the landmarked Childs Restaurant would be restored and reopened as an eatery and catering facility.
The proposal has the support of the local City Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr., D-Brooklyn, which means the proposal is likely to sail through the full council tomorrow, since the legislative body typically votes in concert with the local lawmaker.
“The improvements proposed in this project will undoubtedly restore this iconic structure’s use to the community, provide multiple cultural and educational benefits, and greatly contribute to the area’s ongoing cultural and economic revitalization,” Mr. Recchia said in a statement.
The proposal is the brainchild of Borough President Marty Markowitz, who has long sought a permanent venue for his free Seaside Summer Concert Series. Original plans were for an amphitheater in Asser-Levy Seaside Park, where the concerts were held for years. But neighborhood advocates leery of losing one of the community’s few green spaces, and concerns over traffic, parking and noise, led to that proposal’s death after a protracted legal battle.
In addition to the beep’s free concerts, advocates for the plan hope to bring paid concerts as well, and see the proposal as a way to spark residential development in the Sandy-stricken neighborhood.
Some neighbors of Childs Restaurant, as well as members of a community garden on the site that would need to be relocated, have expressed opposition based on traffic, parking and noise.
The local community board voted against the plan in September, and, although the site is landmarked, the Landmarks Preservation Committee gave the overhaul – which would see at least one exterior wall torn down - a thumbs up.