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Residents At Odds With NYC Over Restoration Of Coney Island Boardwalk

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There's a boardwalk battle underway on Coney Island.

People are planning a rally in an attempt to stop the city from replacing the wooden boardwalk they love with one made of concrete and recycled plastic lumber, CBS2's Elise Finch reported Tuesday.

The Coney Island Boardwalk is changing -- one plank at a time.

The wood the workers are removing at the site on Brighton 15th Street and Coney Island Avenue will soon be replaced with concrete support beams topped by recycled plastic lumber boards.

It's a plan some residents want to stop before it's too late.

"This is a place people come to be comfortable. Nobody wants to leave a hard street and come and walk on more hard street," resident Arlene Brenner said.

"This is the only boardwalk on the East Coast that survived the storm. Not a splinter was taken out of this boardwalk, yet the politicians are destroying it," resident Stephen Diamond added.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the city's Parks Department said, "As a coastal city, it's more important than ever for us to use resilient, sustainable materials. Concrete and recycled plastic lumber are much more resilient and sustainable."

The statement goes on to say that a small section of the boardwalk that was already reconstructed with concrete fared better than wooden sections during Sandy.

"This one is more dangerous because of the nails. And you know how many times I fall down," one resident said, adding when asked if the concrete and plastic is a better alternative, "Yes."

"This is a piece of concrete that was dislodged during Hurricane Sandy. How about that coming at you at 40 miles per hour?" Brenner said.

The president of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance said by the time the Parks Department was willing to listen to residents it was too late.

"They asked what we thought as work to deconstruct the boardwalk was taking place right outside of our meeting," Robert Burstein said.

Now they say they're only recourse is to rally. So that's what they're going to do this Sunday afternoon on the beach, Finch reported.

The Parks Department maintains that by using a combination of recycled plastic lumber and concrete it will be able to maintain the look of a traditional boardwalk while providing a solid and resilient surface for carriages, bicycles and wheelchairs.

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