To the editor:
Having worked for NYC Parks and Recreation for 16 years and managed the largest recreation center in the city of New York, I know first hand what a 6,000-person event entails. I have created and attended many large events over the course of my service to the city. Just to put the size of the proposed amphitheater venue in perspective:
Germain Arena - 7181 seats for a hockey game
Centennial Park - Limits its larger events to 5,000 people and a removable stage.
Barbara B. Mann - 1874
Can you imagine any of these venues in your back yard?
Can you imagine 6000 people coming together at an amphitheater in a small residential neighborhood, on a regular basis? Some of our politicians that were elected to represent the taxpaying community, forget that the Cape Fellowship Church is valued on the tax rolls at $3,268,000 dollars and, you guessed it - as a church they pay zero taxes.
I know that some of the city leaders are great proponents of this amphitheater. A responsible, fair-minded leader would at least, reserve judgement until the impact studies are done; not to mention hearing the concerns of the neighborhood. According to the Fellowship's website, the pastors have been meeting with city officials in reference to this project for over a year. We, the residents learned about this only a few weeks ago in the newspaper, where it was presented as a "done deal." Remarks like the one from Steve Pullman, Parks and Rec. manager, ("once it's built the residents will learn to like it") is condescending, infuriating and irresponsible.
As for this being a free venue for the city, I have my doubts. The streets here are small, 20 feet across). We have no sewers, sidewalks, bicycle paths, lights, or traffic signs. Who will pay the required police and EMS at these events? Seven hundred and fifty parking places for 6,000 people, really? We have many environmentally fragile species here. How will noise of that magnitude and frequency affect them? Pastor Gingrich told me at our meeting that he was sure the residents of the neighborhood would receive free tickets to events. The notion that we would be willing to destroy our quality of life, and sit back and watch our property values plummet further, for free concert tickets is insulting at best. I did ask the Pastor if he would buy a home across the street from a 6,000-person Amphitheater. He would not answer. He lives in a quiet, gated community. He also said "it won't be all the time." Pastor Woolf, on the other hand, has been proud to say that the facility would be used day and night seven days a week.
If, in fact, the Amphitheater won't be used frequently, why is a permanent structure needed? Why not a temporary stage like Centennial Park? The pastors and some of our city leaders present and advertise this part of the project as a "done deal." Why is that?
Our neighborhood is coming together and is proactive. We bought and invested here after checking the zoning and the church was allowed an exemption for a "house of worship" with future land use reverting back to a designation of single- and multi-family home zoning. If the zoning is changed to accommodate this project it could be setting a dangerous precedent. If this is done here, your neighborhood could be next. If you would like further information please e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to keep people updated on this issue.