Fears of being priced out of Coney Island led to a standing room only crowd at the United Community Baptist Church at 2701 Mermaid Avenue last week.
Residents worried about how the city’s Coney Island redevelopment plan will affect them turned out for the second meeting of Coney Island CLEAR – a new alliance of community activists, clergy and labor challenging the city’s strategic development plan for Coney Island.
“The only way we’re going to be successful is by working together,” Brian Gotlieb later told the Bay News.
Coney Island CLEAR is advocating career and job training for Coney Island residents as well as a housing component that calls for half of all new development to be affordable based on 30 percent of the community’s average median income.
The Coney Island Strategic Development Plan calls for between 4,000 and 5,000 new units of housing – only 900 of which is expected to be affordable through the Inclusionary Housing Program.
“That’s our goal and that’s our objective,” Gotlieb said. “We think it’s realistic coming from the voice of the community. We’re waiting to hear what the city has to offer. It’s kind of like a baseball contract negotiation.”
To achieve that goal members of Coney Island CLEAR say they want community benefits agreement that truly benefits the community.
“Affordable housing needs to be affordable to current residents of Coney Island, and that’s the message that we got to tell folks,” the Reverend Connis Mobley said earlier.
Councilman Dominic Recchia – who pointed out that a new development already planned for West 29th Street is slated to be almost 70 percent affordable – said that his office was working with the community on the issue of more affordable housing.
“We’re at the beginning stages of talking about all the mechanics of what’s going to be out there,” he said.
Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny was in Israel when the Bay News tried to contact him this week for a response. Staffers at his district office said that the assemblyman representing Coney Island and Dyker Heights wasn’t sure about the issue and didn’t want to take a position at this time.
The Economic Development Corporation’s Lynn Kelly insisted that affordable housing is a key component in the city’s plan for Coney Island both inside and outside the area of proposed rezoning.
“We will continue to meet with the community in order to determine options for development,” she said.
Coney Island CLEAR will hold their next meeting on June 12. The venue is to be determined. Call 718-996-5668 for more information.