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Several lawmakers representing Coney Island’s Luna Park announced last week a $21 million grant for critical structural repairs of the complex if it remained in the Mitchell-Lama program for at least another 20 years.
But amid the outlay of taxpayer money is grumbling of some of the 5,000 residents that the funds will amount to an unneeded increase in monthly maintenance fees.
The 48-year-old, five-building, city-administered Mitchell-Lama development is located between Neptune and Surf avenues and West 8th and West 12th streets and has about 1,600 affordable housing units.
The funding includes $15 million from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the largest city grant ever given to a Mitchell-Lama project.
“I am extremely pleased that Luna Park will remain in the Mitchell-Lama program for 20 years and continue to be an important bastion of affordable housing for residents in my district,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who announced the funding along with Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Diane Savino, Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny, and Councilmember Domenic Recchia.
“I am committed to working with co-op members, the city, and other elected officials to ensure that Luna Park can complete its critical structural repairs and improvements,” he added.
Specifically, the money will go towards a $65 million project that includes the replacement of crumbling bricks on the exterior of the buildings, which has been a controversial subject in Luna Park.
Luna Park resident Pat Minichello maintains said there have been several engineering studies on how to do the repairs, and a second cheaper option would repair only the parts needed for considerably less money.
It would also allow co-op tenants to possibly sell their co-ops in 2017 for a reasonable profit, he said.
The $21 million means that a loan will be needed, forcing the Co-op Board of Directors to raise maintenance fees considerably on many senior residents who are on a fixed income, said Minichello.
Co-op Board President Anna Treybech acknowledged that maintenance fees will go up about 10 percent once the loan is taken out for the balance of the work, but it’s money worth spending.
“The cheaper way will cost us much more money because a partial replacement of brick doesn’t guarantee us anything, and will cost us about $25 million with HPD giving us nothing,” said Treybech.
The money also comes as the Luna Park Co-op Board recently held an election, and several insurgent candidates reportedly won, which means Treybech may be voted out as president of the nine-member board.
“There’s a lot of things to think about, Some of the work is necessary and I agree to do what’s needed, but I will review it all,” said Sally Stein, one of the insurgents reportedly elected and who some think will be thenext president.
“We have to get together and decide what it is the people want. We will not just jump into anything and have it checked out. Anna is still the president until we take over and we’ll see how things go,” she added.
But Recchia said the renovation is desperately needed.
“This is the most money the city gave to any Mitchell-Lama program and the people in Luna Park should be ecstatic that there buildings will be renovated in the proper manner so that this problem will finally be resolved,” said Recchia.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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