The city has let the air out of plans for an inflatable water slide park on the Coney Island beach.
The Parks Department pulled the plug on Water Slide Beach after environmental permit requirements tied up the plan – leaving the business owner high and dry after he sank $250,000 into the project.
“This is hurting me. This could put me out of business,” said Party Magic USA owner Anthony Gach, who was tapped by the city to set up a park with three inflatable water slides and bungee jumping right on the beach.
State officials put the project on hold last year, saying it needed a special permit because the beach is in an area vulnerable to erosion from wind and waves.
The company expected to eventually get the permit, but after the state told city Parks officials to do a study of other possible sites for the park, they dropped the plan.
“Parks basically said, ‘You know what, we cannot invest any time and energy into this project any longer,” Gach said.
Gach was asked to sign papers this week that terminate his contract at the end of the summer.
It marks the third straight flop for Parks’ plan to bring a “beach adventure” attraction to Coney Island.
Bids in 2005 and 2007 for attractions like banana boat rides, parasailing, rock climbing or trampolines failed to attract any takers before officials launched a third search and picked the water slide plan.
“We were going to come in with amusements into an area that didn’t have amusements and offer something unique and different,” Gach said.
“[We wanted] to come in and do something on the coastline in the heart of Coney Island during this renaissance period.”
Gach said the demise of Water Slide Beach leaves him in a bind because Party Magic walked away from its other projects on Long Island to focus on Coney.
“We wanted to give it 110% of our focus,” he said. “We are not a big company. … I’m taking an extremely large loss.”
State Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman Thomas Panzone said the extra caution was necessary because building on beaches can cause greater “sand losses during storms” and “the potential for structural material to become storm wrack and debris, and be turned into wind- or water-driven projectiles which can become health and safety hazards.”
A City Parks Dept. spokesperson said the beach is “a DEC Coastal Erosion Hazard Area. Getting a waiver from DEC is not feasible.”
Gach is still hoping to find another spot to open the park.
“We’re looking to find a location that would lend itself to what we planned,” he said. “Coney Island has some great amusements, but there’s no water activities there.”
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