A Community Board 13 panel finally voted to back Borough President Markowitz’s controversial bid for a glitzy $64-million amphitheater inside Asser Levy Seaside Park — ending a year of silence on the issue that brought out accusations that the members are just shills for the Beep.
Until Thursday night, Community Board 13 had declined to weigh in on the major project, claiming that it has no role in the approval process for the concert venue. But after a long-overdue meeting of the board’s Parks and Recreation Committee, several panel members pushed a last-minute resolution asking the board to oppose the amphitheater.
That resolution was deadlocked 5-5 — but two abstentions were counted as “no” votes, and the resolution was defeated.
“I feel sick,” said committee member Lollie Reich.
But that nauseous feeling was not shared by people who support Markowitz’s plan to transform the sleepy seaside park on Surf Avenue between Ocean Parkway and W. Fifth Street into a new concert venue on par with the Westbury Music Fair on Long Island.
“When I look at this plan, I see improvements for the park,” Gene Ritter said. “If I thought this was going to destroy the park, I’d be with you.”
Opponents believe the 8,000-seat venue will play a detrimental role, given that it will consume virtually all of the active recreation space in the park, and amplified music might disturb residents of nearby buildings and congregants in the two adjacent synagogues.
“I am for developing the park, but I am not for the project as it stands now,” concluded committee member Todd Dobrin.
Even if it had passed, the board’s resolution would only have been advisory. The Parks Department is actively looking for a concert promoter to run the amphitheater. Borough Hall hopes to complete construction in two years.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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