The standoff between Borough President Marty Markowitz and residents near Asser Levy Seaside Park continues — but there are indications that the beep might be ready to rethink aspects of his plan to build a new $64 million amphitheater inside the Sea Breeze Avenue green space.
Last week, leaders of the opposition met with Borough Hall representatives and project architects to discuss problems they have with the planned amphitheater.
“People are, quite frankly, very happy with the way things are,” local activist Ida Sanoff said. “The facility that they are planning is just too big for this neighborhood.”
Sea Breeze Jewish Center President Mendy Sontag sounded optimistic just prior to the meeting and said that there is room for concessions.
“Personally, I feel that things can be worked out,” Sontag said. “If the roof only went a certain distance it would be okay. We don’t want the 8,000 seats because the traffic is unbearable.”
Critics of the plan to replace the existing bandshell at Asser Levy Park with a new 8,000-seat outdoor facility and commercialize the summer concerts there are adamant that the borough president’s vision, if it were ever built, would wreak havoc on their already congested neighborhood.
“We were told that they were going to scale it back,” Sanoff said. “I think this is just the beginning.”
Borough Hall communications director Laura Sinagra described last week’s meeting with amphitheater opponents as productive, and said it provided an opportunity to hear their concerns.
“Those concerns now need to be discussed on this end,” Sinagra said.
In additions to the amphitheater itself, criticsalso say they do not want the existing playground relocated to a new spot on the other side of the park near West 5th Street.
Sontag also said a new left-turn signal is needed on Ocean Parkway to help alleviate traffic.
City Councilmember Domenic Recchia reiterated his support for the amphitheater project but also indicated, “there is room to work this all out.”
“You’re still going to have a park for the community,” Recchia insisted. “They’re just going to extend the cover so we don’t have to cancel concerts. It’s going to be better.”
“It’s one thing to have this only a few nights a year, but nobody can imagine going through these events several nights a week,” Sanoff said. “They’re going to want to use it as much as they can.”
Critics say they will continue to distribute flyers opposing the planned amphitheater and collect signatures on a petition throughout the rest of this year’s Seaside Summer Concert Series hosted by the borough president.
©2009 Community News Group
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