RYE, N.Y. -- Monday's vote to approve a private management contract to operate Playland Amusement Park through 2030 attracted near unanimous praise from Westchester County legislators.
By a 17-0 vote, the Board of Legislators OK'd County Executive Rob Astorino’s agreement with Standard Amusements for the management of Playland. Standard Amusements will invest $25 million into Playland's revitalization over the next five years, shoring up the future of the county-owned park in Rye.
“This deal meets our three goals for preserving Playland by reversing the losses for taxpayers, putting the park in the hands of a top-flight operator, and revitalizing Playland as a must-visit destination for families for years to come,'' Astorino said in a statement.
Nicholas Singer, who grew up in Harrison and is co-founder of Standard Amusements , said, “We’d like to thank the (county board) for supporting our plans to return Playland to that special place I knew as a child."
The $25 million will go toward new rides and attractions, as well as upgrading food choices, picnic areas, restaurants, buildings and grounds..
“This is one of the largest public investments that has been made at Playland in decades and will make significant strides towards revitalizing one of the County’s greatest assets,” said Legislator Catherine Parker, a Democrat from Rye. “Until the specific capital improvements were memorialized in writing, I could not have supported this proposal."
A memorandum of understanding spelled out which capital projects the county will undertake including the north boardwalk, lights on Playland Parkway, a fire suppression system and Playland pathway.
Legislator Sheila Marcotte, a Republican from Eastchester, said, "Playland has been a $3 to $4 million drag on the county tax levy for years and that’s just not sustainable. I am confident that the Standard Amusements deal will be . . . the financial ‘shot in the arm’ that Playland desperately needs.”
While voting to approve the Playland contract, Legislator Ken Jenkins, a Democrat from Yonkers, said some concerns remain: “This arrangement does not go far enough to benefit Westchester taxpayers. . . . I remain concerned that there is no way to enforce the numerous agreements and insure this prime waterfront park remains available to all. . . .”
Parker added, “This was not a perfect process by any stretch, but I believe that the taxpayers will benefit from the increased value of Playland as a result of the capital infusion it will receive.”