Boost for new amphitheater - Millions to help outdoor venue take shape in Brooklyn

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Borough President Marty Markowitz brought home nearly $90 million worth of bacon in capital funding from the fiscal year 2009 city budget, according to borough hall documents.

Leading the charge were two of Markowitz’s pet projects – a new amphitheatre at Asser Levy Park in Coney Island ($29.3 million) and renovations to the historic Loew’s Kings Theatre on Flatbush Avenue ($10.75 million).

“The Coney Island Center will be a much-needed community resource as well as bring to Coney Island the kind of state-of-the-art performance facility Brooklyn deserves,” said Markowitz, who has been holding a summer concert series in the park since he took office.

“New York City’s first covered, outdoor performance space will make our borough a natural stop on the summer concert circuit for entertainers who now play Jones Beach and Westbury Theater and the PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey,” he added.

Markowitz said the amphitheatre will also serve as “a cherished landmark at the gateway to the revitalized Coney Island, and help to ensure Coney remains the ‘Playground of America’ for this and future generations.”

According to sources, the proposed amphitheatre will have an 8,000 seating capacity, and a schematic design is in process now with a groundbreaking expected in late summer 2009.

Renovation of the Loew’s Kings Theatre, 1025-1035 Flatbush Avenue, has also been a priority with Markowitz.

First opened in 1929, the theater was designed in the French Renaissance style with aesthetic nods to architectural gems such as the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera.

However, the theater closed in the late 1970s, and the city’s Economic Development Corporation put out requests for proposals (RFP) earlier this year to renovate the sites.

The RFP includes a requirements that the theater’s many architectural details – such as its soaring, vaulted ceiling, grand staircase, intricate plasterwork and elegant woodwork — be restored, or, if that is impossible, replaced in kind.

“Restoring the historic Loew’s Kings represents an incredible opportunity to create a world-class cultural venue for current and future Brooklynites and bring some glamour to an area still underserved by cultural venues,” said Markowitz.

“The return of the Kings will not only create a beautiful community resource, it will also help stimulate economic growth in Central Brooklyn by establishing a solid mid-Flatbush anchor,” he added.

Other big ticket projects that received funding through Markowitz’s share of capital funding includes $2.5 million for the Brooklyn Navy Yard Historical Center, and $2 million each for the proposed Lakeside Center ice/roller skating facility in Prospect Park and the Atlantic Avenue Playground in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

A half million dollars was allocated to each of three Brooklyn Library branches for renovations including branches in Greenpoint, Kensington and Fort Hamilton.

The New York Aquarium in Coney Island received $1 million for a new shark exhibit and the Dyker Beach Golf Course at Fourteenth and Cropsey avenues received $500,000 for upgrades.

In northern Brooklyn , the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project Local Development Corporation received $500,000 for public space improvements to Myrtle Avenue and Fort Greene Park.

The Park Slope Civic Council received a $250,000 allocation to pay for historic lighting on Lincoln Place between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

Updated 3:43 pm, October 19, 2011
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