Coney Island Boardwalk will not be privatized

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CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (PIX11) -- Could the People's Playground soon become privatized? That's the worry in Coney Island where a new report suggests the city could put permitting on the Coney Island Boardwalk in the hands of a private company.

The Brooklyn Paper says the Parks Department is drawing up plans to have a private company take over the permitting process and possibly more for the Riegelmann Boardwalk.

Boardwalk regulars say putting permits in control of a private company could mean higher rates for vendors and entertainers who currently depend on the foot traffic for business.

"I think they just want to make this into something like a money making proposition," said Johnny Corona of Mill Basin. "But who's the winners? We're going to be the losers."

And some are worried the brick and mortar businesses, that haven't already been priced out, would also have to pay higher rents or raise their prices.

Right now the Parks Department controls permitting for venue, but if it hands over the permitting rights to a public company it would be a precedent.

"They're not thinking for the people, they're thinking for their pockets," said John Lalli of Coney Island. "Are they trying to raise more revenue? I just do not understand why they would try and privatize Coney Island Boardwalk."

At this point the Parks Department would only say that they are considering a request for proposals here in Coney Island, but they didn't rule out privatizing the boardwalk. It's an idea that those who use the boardwalk every day say would get them out of their beach chairs to fight.

"We'd definitely protest it, of course," said Corona.

Tuesday evening, an official at the Parks Department's press office told PIX11 they will not be privatizing the boardwalk.


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