Officials, business owners concerned about the future of Coney Island

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Some officials and small business owners say they are expressing worries about the economic future of Coney Island.

Those talking about their concerns say rent increases and disputes can force some businesses to leave the area, or raise their prices.

Lola Star is passionate about Coney Island. She says she's maintained a storefront on the boardwalk for almost two decades.

"I'm a local artist who creates the products that we sell, but in addition to that, I am so proud to be a part of small business visionaries," says Star.

However, the future of her business is in jeopardy. Star says she's received a rent hike of around 400%, which for her is not affordable.

Star says the city bought a lot of the land along the boardwalk 10 years ago and leased it to an Italian corporation named Central Amusements International. It is owned by the Zamperla Group and operated by Luna Park in Coney Island.

She tells News 12 that she has gotten the biggest rent increase among the businesses involved. She says she has been working with Councilman Mark Treyger and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to come to an agreement that works for her.

"These businesses are the heart and soul of the Coney Island we know and love. I'll keep working with Council Member Treyger and all involved to try and find a resolution," Johnson says.

Star wants the city to step in to help mitigate these negotiations in order to help businesses. A spokesperson from the Economic Development Corporation tells News 12 in a statement in part, "As discussions continue, we'll remain engaged. We are eager to see a positive outcome – it's what Coney Island deserves."

News 12 has reached out to Luna Park and the Zamperla Group for comment and has not heard back yet.

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