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County Legislators Discuss Timetable, Concerns For New Manager At Playland

Nicholas Singer, co-founder of Standard Amusements LLC, center, with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino at Playland on Tuesday.
Nicholas Singer, co-founder of Standard Amusements LLC, center, with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino at Playland on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

RYE, N.Y. -- Westchester County legislators tasked with reviewing a $25 million deal to operate Playland Amusement Park said they are confident they can meet a 60-day deadline for approval.

Speaking to reporters during a conference call on Thursday, Legislator Peter Harckham, D-North Salem, said, "We've got a lot of work to do, but the goal is to get it done in 60 days."

Harckham, who is chairman of the Board of Legislators' Committee on Parks, Labor, Housing & Planning, said legislators plan to meet once or twice weekly and visit Playland before it opens on May 9. The committee's next meeting is on April 23 at 9 a.m.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino announced details Tuesday of the county's tentative agreement with Standard Amusements.

Playland's new manager promises nearly $23 million in upgrades to the park in the next five years, a $2 million payment to the county and $300,000 annually. The county would receive 7.5 percent of operating profits, after Standard Amusements recoups its investment. The 15-year agreement, effective on Oct. 31, is renewable for another 15 years. Standard Amusements has the option to pull out of the deal in October after co-managing Playland with the county this summer.

The agreement was signed Monday night by Harrison native Nicholas Singer, partner and co-founder of Standard Amusements, who spent his youth visiting Playland and skating at its ice rink. Standard Amusements promises to bring new rides, restore historic rides and improve choices at the food court. They also aim to make Playland more profitable by adding a mini-water park and ballfields while operating year-round.

Legislator Catherine Parker, D-Rye, said the new manager's intention of converting parking space to temporary playing fields has divided the community into "two camps. One camp that would love the fields (and) another group, mostly neighbors concerned with things that come with fields, like lights, and fencing and noise."

Parker expressed concern that "the public didn't have a chance to digest the Biederman report,'' a $100,000 study of Playland's future. The report, due in December, was not released until Tuesday. Astorino said Dan Biederman suggested the county negotiate a contract with Standard Amusements, so the report was withheld until an agreement was reached.

Board of Legislators Majority Leader Catherine Borgia, D-Ossining, said, "As long as the process is moving forward, it seems unlikely they would walk away."

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