In the midst of a record-smashing heatwave, an all-too-familiar villain is keeping sweating Brooklynites from a new water park at Coney Island — bureaucratic red tape.
Three mega-waterslides were ready to be inflated for the opening of “Waterslide Beach” on the sand at Coney Island last weekend, said owner Anthony Gach, but someone — though who is not clear — failed to file paperwork with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which must approve of any construction on the beach, which spokeswoman Maureen Wren described as a “coastal erosion area.”
“The DEC came in at the last minute and said that the Parks Department didn’t file the proper paperwork,” said Gach, the president of Party Magic. “It was an application for a permit, and we’re going through a whole rigmarole right now — trying to get through it as fast as we can.”
The Parks Department says the delay is not its fault.
“Party Magic’s contract requires that it is solely responsible for all permits and approvals,” said Phil Abramson, a spokesman for the Parks Department, which awarded Gach the contract for the site, though not all the permits, apparently.
It is unclear who is to blame — but it is clear who got hosed, or, more accurately, did not get hosed: families heading to Coney Island during this scorcher of a summer.
And it doesn’t look like the attraction will be up and running at Coney Island any time soon. According to Wren, the state agency has not yet received an application from the vendor or the city.
“They did not contact [us] for a permit,” said Wren. “Our staff found out about the violation on our own. Then we contacted the city and indicated a permit was needed. We made numerous efforts to get an application in place, but to date we haven’t received one.” So Gach is left with three enormous waterslides, and nowhere to put them.
“We would love for people to be enjoying the waterslides,” said Gach.
Two weeks ago, when the future of the park was not in question and an Independence Day weekend opening was set, Gach had hyped his 35-foot Steeplechase Slide, saying, “It’s like riding a big marshmallow.”
Now, Gach is just scrambling to keep his park afloat and his head above water.
“It would be a conservative statement to say it has messed up our revenue flow,” Gach said. “It’s been a problem for the staff we hired and the equipment that has been delivered.”
The state agency told Gach that it would prioritize the paperwork for Water Slide Beach, though Wren could not give an estimate of how long it would take to approve the attraction, since her agency had not yet received an application. Borough President Markowitz is trying to expedite the process.
©2010 Community News Group
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