After arguing to save the wooden Coney Island Boardwalk with petitions and official presentations to the city, several advocacy groups and outspoken residents filed a lawsuit this week in Brooklyn Supreme Court to stop the city from tearing up a five-block section of the boardwalk and replacing it with a mixture of concrete and plastic.

Beyond destroying a historical gem, these groups say, there are serious safety concerns – including improper drainage – that have already arisen in sections renovated with concrete. The lawsuit, dated July 10, claims that the parks department did not subject its plans to the necessary state and city environmental review.

“This is an important step,” said Ida Sanoff, 60, a longtime resident of Brighton Beach, and one of the individual petitioners. “It is far from the last step, because we don’t give up. What the city is trying to do is circumvent the environmental review process by doing it in little pieces and with pilot projects.”

The lawsuit contends that the section of nearly 60,000 feet, which is in Brighton Beach, away from the main entertainment district, is merely a test for the renovations of the remaining sections of the 2.7-mile long boardwalk.

The parks department, nearing the end of a $30 million renovation project that does not provide for the entire boardwalk, determined that it was too costly to maintain and replace the deteriorating boards with hardwood; instead, it planned to use recycled plastic that looks like wood with a concrete center strip designed for use by emergency and service vehicles.

Besides Ms. Sanoff, the petitioners included the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance; Friends of the Boardwalk; and the residents Robert Burstein, Arlene Brenner, Brunilda Figueroa and Todd Dobrin. “I am hoping that this will preserve a wooden boardwalk for future generations,” Ms. Sanoff said.

The parks department confirmed that it was served papers on Wednesday, but would not comment further. Susan Amron, chief of the environmental law division of the New York City Law Department, said that the law department had received the papers and was “reviewing them thoroughly.”

Source: NY Times


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