July 17, 2009New York City Council Members250 Broadway New York, NY 10007CC: Christine QuinnMelinda KatzDear City Council Member,I write today to express deep concerns regarding the City’s plan to redevelopConey Island. While the plan will create new jobs and thousands of new housing units, it currently fails to guarantee the good jobs and affordablehousing the Coney Island community needs. The window of opportunity forthe City Council to make these important changes is closing fast. Before thisproject is approved by the Land Use Committee and the entire body of theCity Council, we ask you to modify the plan to guarantee the following:
While neighborhood unemployment rates surpass those in the restof Brooklyn and the City as a whole, Coney Island residents need more thanjust an influx of new jobs. They need good jobs that will provide the wages andbenefits their families need to make ends meet. Without specific requirementsfor good jobs in the City’s plan, the new development is in jeopardy of being built by and filled with dead-end, minimum wage jobs that further deterioratethe local economy and do not create the kind of economic stimulus Coney Island—and New York—needs.
Coney Island has historically been a community where working New Yorkers could afford to raise their families, but theneighborhood is rapidly losing its affordable housing. The City’s plan toredevelop Coney Island will create 900 “affordable” housing units in 10-15years, but in 2007 alone, the neighborhood lost 3,000 units of affordablehousing. Average incomes in Coney Island are less than half of the city-widemedian income used to determine housing affordability in the City’s plan.Unless the city pushes for deeper levels of affordability and good jobs, theaverage Coney Island family would have to double its salary in order to affordone of the new “affordable” units. The City must significantly raise its meagerallotment for affordable housing at Coney Island and designate half of all new residential units toward housing that local working families can afford.
Several public amenities are necessary for the community that lives in Coney Island year-round. A new school in the area will helpaddress overcrowding problems and a full-service supermarket is necessary tosupport the neighborhood’s needs for healthy, affordable food. In addition,improved public transportation will improve access for both year-roundresidents and seasonal visitors.