RYE, N.Y. – Sustainable Playland, Inc. (SPI) has to decide if it’s in or out as the designated manager of Playland and it has until Tuesday, May 1 to make that call, said Michael Kaplowitz, chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL).
SPI removed itself April 1 from the county’s review of its proposal, which would expand Playland to a year-round attraction with new facilities. It cited pending litigation for the reason it took this step back and asked the BOL to provide a more unified vision of Playland’s future in another letter to the BOL April 9.
“Everyone is working on getting things back on the tracks,” said Geoff Thompson, spokesman for SPI. “I think we recognize the deadline that was established by the board chair. We met to discuss this to evaluate where we are and what we might want to do going forward.”
The SPI board met earlier this week to discuss the May 1 deadline Kaplowitz set for SPI to return and answer their questions.
“The reaction, I thought it was 180 degrees backwards,” he said of SPI’s decision to step away from the table. “The reason they were selected was for their vision. Our job is to vet it.”
The BOL parks committee began vetting SPI’s Playland Improvement Plan in March, which brought up questions about the target attendance size and financing.
Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D – Ossining) said a big question is the economic viability of the plan, which includes adding an 82,500-square-foot Field House in the parking lot. This was reduced from 95,000 square feet, but has still raised concerns from neighbors and legislators.
“If you take away the parking how are you going to hit the attendance numbers you need to hit the revenue projections you use?” Borgia asked.
Kaplowitz had expected a full BOL vote on approving SPI’s plan in mid-May. While that has now been pushed back, he said he is “hoping they come back with something.”
The county will continue to operate Playland this summer, and SPI would take over management duties in the summer 2015. Kaplowitz said they had hoped the management of the Ice Casino could be phased over to SPI in the fall.
“That’s why yesterday is better than today, and today is better than tomorrow,” he said. “There’s no hard timeline to turn it over to them. It just delays the process.”
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