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Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 8:13 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Borough of Jersey
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April 16, 2009

Coney Island's biggest property owner is forking over $2.5 million to spruce up the area's rundown seaside district for the summer and bring it new rides and attractions.

Much-maligned developer Joe Sitt confirmed his massive outlay yesterday -- a far cry from the $75,000 he spent operating his land last summer, when city officials accused him of trying to ruin the area for his benefit.

Besides bringing temporary rides and sideshows to the former Astroland site and a flea market to Stillwell Avenue, the $2.5 million includes $250,000 for a promotional blitz to attract visitors.

It includes flooding buses, trains and subway stations with ads promoting Sitt's "Festival by the Sea," which starts May 15 along the boardwalk and runs through Labor Day, and the creation of a new website, which kicks off Monday.

Only last September, Lynn Kelly, president of the city's Coney Island Development Corp., accused the developer of buying up prime boardwalk space and clearing out rides to try to push a proposed area rezoning that would allow him to build luxury condos. The condo plan is part of a $1.5 billion Vegas-style entertainment complex that Sitt has proposed for his 10.5 acres of property.

She also said Sitt's previous attempts to replace rides he's cleared out the past three summers with temporary amusements have been a huge flop -- including a much-maligned "inflatable" water slide he set up on Stillwell Avenue last summer -- suggesting he was privately happy over the failure.

The mayor does not share Sitt's longterm vision for Coney Island, and the administration is trying to work out a deal to buy Sitt's land in order to smoothly move forward with a proposed 47-acre area rezoning that includes a new 27-acre amusement and entertainment district.

Sitt, who has denied Kelly's allegations, said through his spokesman yesterday that the difference this season is he's "taking a more direct role in the operations of" his Coney Island property.

"By directly handling many components of our entertainment program, we are confident that Coney Island residents and tourists alike will enjoy great rides, great food, and a great time in the summer of 2009," said Sitt spokesman Stefan Friedman.
NEW YORK heals.

“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer.
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