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A Coney Island council candidate blasted the mayor for letting the People’s Playground get left out of a massive donation plan quarterbacked by the group bringing the Superbowl to the New York metro area.
Mark Treyger, a Democrat hoping to replace term-limited Councilman Domenic Recchia (D–Coney Island), flagged the announcement last week of a joint charity venture that would allocate more than $1 million to rehabilitate recreational areas across the five boroughs, with an emphasis on those damaged during Hurricane Sandy — because it left out Coney Island.
“I wish I could say I’m surprised, but once again the Bloomberg administration has ignored the needs of working families in Coney Island,” said the contender, a former aide to Assemblyman Bill Colton (D–Bensonhurst).
The funding is coming from the National Football League and the New York/New Jersey Host Committee — the entity responsible for coordinating the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium, home of the Giants and Jets — in coordination with Bloomberg charity the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
Treyger pointed out that the announcement included just one location in Brooklyn — a football field at Boys and Girls High School in relatively unscathed Bedford-Stuyvesant — and no locations in storm-shattered Coney Island.
“When guests make donations, it’s the administration’s responsibility to make sure these dollars are steered toward the neighborhoods that need them the most,” Treyger said. “Coney Island’s parks, playgrounds, and recreational spaces remain in dangerous condition.”
But the mayor’s office punted responsibility to the host committee, claiming that the selection process lay entirely in that entity’s hands. The committee said that it is still looking at donating to an additional 12 playgrounds, gyms, and sports fields, and was open to including a Coney location on that later list.
“We will seriously consider every project that is suggested to us,” said spokeswoman Alexandra Sturm.
Treyger’s Republican rival, Tea Party activist Andy Sullivan, agreed that getting a piece of the Superbowl slush fund would be a boon to the community. But he argued that it was more important to focus on reducing government regulations in order to encourage business investment in the district spanning Sodom by the Sea, Seagate, and parts of Bensonhurst and Gravesend.
“That is not a panacea, begging the mayor, or begging the NFL for crumbs,” said Sullivan. “We have to create conditions where private citizens and companies are going to want to come into the area.”
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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