Dominic Recchia, a City Council member from south Brooklyn, has opposed the Bloomberg administration’s redevelopment plan for Coney Island since before it was unveiled a year-and-a-half ago, becoming a major obstacle to the city’s long-running bid to revive his district’s oceanfront amusement park.
So when Recchia suddenly endorsed a plan today that had but a few minor differences with the city’s original proposal, it signaled not only that Coney Island may finally be saved from an uncertain future, but also that the developer who owns an important swath of land in the area—and a major Recchia ally—may be on the verge of striking a deal with the city.
“It’s impossible to make everyone 100 percent happy,” Recchia said at a special meeting of the council’s land-use committee this afternoon. “But this plan makes everyone happy enough that we can move forward.” The committee voted in favor of the amended plan 13-2, with a vote before the full council due next Wednesday.
The councilmember’s about-face offers fresh hope for the city’s rezoning plan, which aims to remedy one of the major problems facing Coney Island: The area is largely dormant outside of the summer, when the amusement park shuts down. In addition to creating indoor amusement spaces for year-round activity and employment, by Coney Island for All, a coalition of labor unions and housing advocates, and while the group sees them as an improvement, it would like to see more housing and job security. “There’s been progress made, but we have to stay vigilant,” Kristi Barnes, a representative for the group, said after the vote.
Recchia also negotiated improvements to the surrounding area’s troubled infrastructure—sewage overflows during storms and streets strewn with potholes—as well as money for the expansion of the local hospital and school to accommodate an influx of new residents. Money has also been promised for a new ice-skating rink and renovation of a nearby park.
“By the end of the day on July 29, everyone will be happy,” Recchia said.