Local electeds mixed on proposal to bring a casino to the Coney Island Boardwalk

As the effort to bring a casino to the shores of Brooklyn’s Coney Island gained traction this week with three organizations becoming a member of Thor Equities’ bid to nab one in all solely three casino licenses Albany will concern for the downstate space, native electeds had mixed reactions to the proposal.

Thor Equities’ chief government Joe Sitt, who’s a main property proprietor in the beachfront group, announced Tuesday that he’s partnering with Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation and Legends on a “comprehensive casino, hotel, and entertainment proposal” for the Folks’s Playground. 

Sitt will probably be competing in opposition to what’s shaping up to be a packed discipline of deep-pocketed builders, every trying to snatch up one in all the three downstate licenses the state is about to concern someday subsequent yr. They embrace New York Mets proprietor Steve Cohen and Associated Firms CEO Stephen Ross – the developer of Hudson Yards.

The choice of who’ll in the end get the licences is the palms of the state Gaming Cimmssion.

The realm’s incoming Meeting Member Alec Brook-Krasny – a Republican – instructed amNewYork Metro in an interview Wednesday that whereas he isn’t opposed to the concept of constructing a casino alongside the Coney Island boardwalk, he feels that any proposal ought to embrace a checklist of advantages to the group that he’s recognized.

“I’m a very realistic person, whether there is to be a casino or not is not going to be decided by the local assemblyman,” Brook-Krasny stated. “Rather, this decision will come from the highest levels of the state. But what is important for the community, and me as a community representative, [is that] I will negotiate with all of these large entities for what the community needs.”

Picture through Getty Pictures

Brook-Krasny, who beforehand represented the space as a Democrat in the Meeting, will once again occupy his old seat come January, after he ousted Coney’s Island’s present consultant in Albany’s decrease chamber – Mathylde Frontus – in a nail-bitingly shut race that concluded final week. 

Brook-Krasny’s checklist of calls for contains a new vocational college for Coney Island residents that will funnel college students into union apprenticeship packages; a complete cleanup of Coney Island Creek and the development of a new pier and ferry cease on the peninsula; and repairs to the Coney Island Boardwalk.

He added that a casino would assist rework Coney Island into a year-round, moderately than simply a summer season, vacation spot, creating much-needed jobs in the course of.

“For years we’ve been talking about Coney Island as a year-round destination with a lot of jobs for the area residents, so I think [a] casino will help us in that direction,” he stated. “So, in general, I would be for it if these huge entities will work with me and my community to develop what we need. And it’s in the mutual interest I believe but of course we’ll have to push for it.”

A metropolis Financial Growth Company plan to build a ferry landing at Coney Island creek was halted last week, months after development on a new pier stopped due to a sand shift that posed security and navigation points.

Sitt stated he believes constructing a casino in Coney Island would bring the space again to its glory days of the early twentieth Century – in accordance to a report from the Brooklyn Paper.

“New York will always be our home and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to reclaim Coney Island’s legacy and bring new economic possibilities to an iconic neighborhood,” he stated in a assertion.

The New York Times reported that Sitt’s proposal includes a curler coaster that goes beneath the Coney Island boardwalk, an indoor waterpark and a number of other inns and museums. The builders declare the mission would create 2,500 non permanent development jobs and “thousands” of everlasting positions. In addition they stated they’ll make use of Coney Island residents, work with native companies and launch a hospitality and gaming focussed job coaching program.

Ari Kagan (Picture by Tsubasa Berg)

Space Metropolis Council Member Ari Kagan (D), who’s been a vocal critic of bringing a casino to Coney Island in the previous, reiterated his previous criticisms that folks solely have to look to Atlantic Metropolis, New Jersey, to perceive casinos’ destructive influence on closely residential areas.

“The operator of the casino will become very very rich and successful,” Kagan stated. “Everybody else will suffer, everybody else. Especially [the] area around the casino. Drugs, prostitution, crime, mental health issues, suicides, depression, family breakups, all kinds of robberies. It’s the last thing that Coney Island needs.”

What Coney Island does want, Kagan stated, is a new ferry – like Brook-Krasny argued, one other grocery store, one other financial institution and higher public transit. He additionally argued that the casino probably wouldn’t rent domestically, regardless of the builders saying they might, and that it wouldn’t assist different native companies.

“Everything will be inside the casino,” Kagan stated. “The whole point of the casino is nobody leaving casino, everybody’s in, nobody’s out. So, all of these ideas that it’ll be like grocery stores, restaurants, cafes and everything else around that everyone will visit, it does not fly.”

Outgoing state Senator Diane Savino (D Brooklyn, Staten Island) – who introduced she’ll be becoming a member of Mayor Eric Adams’ administration earlier this week – stated that whereas she’s agnostic on the prospect of a Coney Island casino, she thinks there’ll be a lot of group pushback.

“I don’t think you’re going to see a tremendous amount of support for a casino,” Savino stated. “Because of the concerns about the strain on existing resources that are there. Whether it be the infrastructure, traffic problems, the ferry that was supposed to be coming. So, you’re probably gonna see a lot of pushback there.”

“The people in Coney Island are very sensitive to the fact that six months out of the year, the whole world considers it its playground and six months out of the year, it can be quite lonely,” she added. “And what are they going to get out of it? So, I think that will all play into the decision that’s made about whether this makes sense for Coney Island.”

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