SOUTH BEACH — Staten Island's first amusement park in decades will open this summer, the Parks Department announced Tuesday.
Newly appointed Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver made the announcement when he joined Staten Island's borough commissioner Adena Long and students from P.S. 38 at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk's Sand Lane entrance to celebrate Staten Island's beaches ahead of their official opening day on Saturday.
"When Hurricane Sandy struck in October 2012, the damage it left behind was staggering," Silver said.
"This beach has become a symbol of the strength and resiliency of our city, and we're proud to announce that Staten Island's beaches are again open for business."
Silver announced that construction has begun on a children's amusement park, Fantasy Shore, in Midland Beach, including Staten Island's only roller coaster: the Verrazano Viper.
The amusement park originated from a request for proposals the city released in March, which was won by NY Carousel, a company that runs the rides at Forest Park in Queens. It is set to open this summer.
"We felt like this is going to be a perfect fit here," said Ami Abramson, director of NY Carousel. "It's a no-brainer. It's time to bring rides back to Staten Island."
Abramson said that he hopes to be able to open the rides as soon as Saturday's beach opening, but if they miss that date they will open whenever they complete the proper inspections for the rides.
"Our goal is to get the rides open as soon as possible," he said.
This summer, Fantasy Shore will have a minimum of four rides with a Staten Island theme, including a train ride called the Staten Island Railroad. Abramson said it could grow to as many as five or six this year.
The park will have free admission and will be suitable for children up to 12 years old. It will be open every weekend until school lets out on June 26, when it will switch to daily operation until Labor Day when the beaches close, Abramson said.
Aside from Fantasy Shore, the Parks Department also announced that the new "Midland Splaza" entrance to the beach near Seaview Avenue has completed construction and is open to the public.
Silver also laid out the Park Department's efforts to protect the borough's shoreline from future storm surges, including berms in beaches, a retaining wall at Wolfes Pond Park Beach and the restoration of the boardwalk, which was destroyed in the storm.