Plastic OK'd for part of Coney Island boardwalk

By the Associated Press | March 12, 2012 | 6:25 PM EDT

FILE - In this Dec.14, 2008, file photo Marina Katrova, and her 6-year-old daughter Masha walk on the wooden boardwalk that connects Brighton Beach, background, with Coney Island, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. A hearing is taking place in New York City Monday, March 12, 2012 on a planned makeover for stretches of the aging, 2.7-mile boardwalk that would include replacing it with a combination of plastic and concrete. (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City commission has approved a plan to replace part of Coney Island's wooden boardwalk with a combination of plastic and concrete.

The city's Public Design Commission met Monday to discuss the proposal from the city Parks Department. Its approval was the last step needed to move forward with the plan.

More than three dozen people spoke against the plan to make over stretches of the aging, 2.7-mile Brooklyn boardwalk. They carried signs that said "Boardwalk, not sidewalk."

The city stopped using long-lasting lumber from tropical species of trees in 2008 to help preserve rain forests. Officials have had trouble finding a reliable supply of more environmentally friendly hardwood.

City officials say the plastic composite lasts longer than wood, and it's cheaper. The boardwalk has drawn visitors since 1923.