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Taxpayers shelling out $4M for Coney Island Parachute Jump

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Taxpayers shelling out $4M for Coney Island Parachute Jump

BY JOTHAM SEDERSTROM

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

April 11th 2008

 

[float=right]amd_parachute.jpg

Archphoto.com[/float]Maybe they should rename it the Golden Parachute.

 

Taxpayers are shelling out a staggering $4 million for a redesign of the historic Coney Island Parachute Jump - and that's even before construction begins.

 

The price tag at the 2.2-acre site - which would be spread among eight design firms, including lighting experts and water specialists - is triple the average cost for a typical city project, architects told the Daily News.

 

"It shouldn't cost the city $4 million to push the design envelope," said architect Benjamin Ellis, who is unaffiliated with the plan to spruce up the 262-foot Brooklyn landmark.

 

"It seems like the [city] is hiring as many design specialists as is required to justify a $4 million design fee," he said. "What they've done here - hiring eight guys - it's pigs at the city's trough."

 

The design team made up of EDAW Inc., the Rockwell Group, MRA International, ARUP, DMJM Harris, Jason Bruges Studio, WET Design and Li/Saltzman Architects was announced in January.

 

It includes landscape artists, preservation experts, water specialists, entertainment-based developers and a lighting designer to overhaul an earlier 2006 lighting scheme at the Parachute Jump that is expected to be scrapped.

 

When designs for the Steeplechase Plaza plan are complete, the site could include a water display, an open-air public space and restaurants in and around a glass pavilion.

 

The site, which will eventually house the restored B&B Carousell, could include an observation deck for viewing the ocean and Boardwalk when it is completed in 2010.

 

"A $4 million project may seem like a lot, but this is a critical piece to Coney Island's future," said Coney Island Development Corp. President Lynn Kelly, who insisted the project was highly specialized. "And why shouldn't we invest? It's about time we reinvest in Coney Island."

 

Architects say the $42 per square foot it will cost taxpayers is as much as triple what city design projects typically cost after competitive bidding.

 

Brooklyn architect Sanjive Vaidya didn't balk at the price tag, but suggested hiring New York firms rather than California and London firms might have lowered costs.

 

"These are all pretty huge companies, so I could see them eating up fees," said Vaidya, who noted that building so close to the ocean and expediting the design process to meet a 2010 deadline were also reasons for the cost. "I think if they went local, they might have saved a little."

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Even if they have to move it, i'd be a good idea i think to keep this structure. You can see it from staten island, and sandy hook. Would be a shame to lose such a beautiful landmark. The eiffel tower of brooklyn? :D

 

- Andy

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Well I think at this point, its a must to keep this landmark in Coney Island. It would be very nice to see Coney Island in some of its former glory. But, with all of these different plans and debates, I doubt we can see this happening.

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Well I think at this point, its a must to keep this landmark in Coney Island. It would be very nice to see Coney Island in some of its former glory. But, with all of these different plans and debates, I doubt we can see this happening.

 

Agreed with you completely. I'd like to see this kept as a permanent fixture of the Coney Island landscape, yet it's looking quite unlikely.

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I was just thinking how cool it would have been to have the Coney Island of the old days, now. Does anyone have any updates on Coney Island itself and will it open this season? This might be my next project for school.

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I was just thinking how cool it would have been to have the Coney Island of the old days, now. Does anyone have any updates on Coney Island itself and will it open this season? This might be my next project for school.

 

Yes, it's open this season. Thankfully what that does, is not only give people more time to enjoy astroland, but also give people more time to save astroland for good. I'd love to see an authentic culture and history respecting revitalization of the area, not some lame ass class dividing eyesore of a water park.

 

- Andy

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