Rye Residents Speak Out Against Playland Plans

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Mack Cunningham speaks during an information session on Rye Playland, where he was one of several who spoke out against Sustainable's plan.
Mack Cunningham speaks during an information session on Rye Playland, where he was one of several who spoke out against Sustainable's plan. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

RYE, N.Y. --Rye reidents expressed frustration on plans to renovate Rye Playland at an information session in Rye City Hall Tuesday night.

The information session was led by representatives of Sustainable Playland, Playland Sports and Pinnacle Sports. The discussion mostly focused on the new field house that is being proposed during the first year of Sustainable's management of the park. After a presentation on the field house, residents were allowed to make comments on the project and ask questions.

"What is troubling about this project from my perspective is the imbalance of information that is going out regarding this plan," said Mack Cunningham, a Rye resident and former City Council member.

Cunningham and other residents pointed out how the project has changed over the years from when Sustainable first submitted its plan. The biggest change brought up was the size of the field house, which has grown from 54,000 square feet to 95,000 square feet. Representatives from Sustainable said that though the building's size has changed, the overall footprint of the field zone has shrunk by 33 percent.

"It seems like this plan is being faulted because it's changed," said Bruce Macleod, a board member with Sustainable. "It's changed because of the feedback we've gotten."

During the nearly four-hour meeting, residents complained about the impact of noise and lights from the field zone on nearby property. Many thought that the Playland Improvement Plan would increase traffic and lead to people parking on the residential streets. Others felt that Rye was being cut out of the approval process, and said that the city's elected officials and planning experts should insist on having their opinions heard.

Not all the feedback was negative. Several parents stood up and said that the lack of field space in Rye was frustrating, and thought that the field zone would reduce the need to travel to other towns so that their kids could play sports.

The meeting was moderated by Mayor Joe Sack, and attended by all City Council members, as well as several members of the Board of Legislators. Legislator Catherine Parker, who serves on the BOL Parks Committee, said that the committee had its first meeting on the Playland Improvement Plan and laid out a schedule for its consideration.

The next meeting of the Parks Committee will be on March 11, and will feature a presentation by Sustainable. That week there will also be a public hearing in Rye. On March 18 there will be a site visit by members of the committee, and Parker said there will be another visit on a Saturday to meet with neighbors. On March 25 there will be a discussion of traffic and parking, and a discussion on legal issues on April 1. There will be a meeting with Rye officials on April 8. On April 22 there will be a meeting on the budget. During the week of May 6 there will be another public hearing, to be held in White Plains, and a vote on the plan tentatively scheduled for May 13.

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