RYE, N.Y. – Westchester has picked up the gauntlet thrown down by the city of Rye over the fate of Playland, the county’s nearly 90-year-old amusement park on the Long Island sound.
The city’s attorney, Michael Gerrard, wrote to the county on July 18 questioning its status as “lead agency” for the Playland project’s environmental review.
Rye also demanded that the county rescind its decision that several projects attached to the project don’t need environmental reviews.
According to a report by lohud.com, Rye has been threatening to take the county to court over the matter.
Playland projects over which Rye feels it should have control include the replacement of a public pool at the park, lohud.com reported.
The response from Westchester’s attorney, Robert Meehan, to the July 18 letter was short.
The county does not “agree with the assertions in your letter,” he wrote Gerrard.
Meehan added that he had been told that Rye Mayor Joe Sack had been in contact with Nicholas Singer of Standard Amusements, the company which has a deal to take over Playland’s management.
According to the lohud.com report, the company and the county plan to invest a combined $60 million to renovate the aging park.
Rye’s problem is not with Standard Amusements, Gerrard said Thursday, it’s with the county’s “failure to include the city in the decision-making process.”
Gerrard added that he considered the county’s July 27 letter a “non-response” and that legal action is still on the table.
Ned McCormack, a spokesman for County Executive Rob Astorino, said Thursday that the county is not making a special case out of Rye.
Westchester is responsible for thousands of acres of parkland, he said, adding: “If we let municipalities make individual decisions, we would not have a unified park system.”
The county executive, McCormack said, “has been working extremely hard on a plan that will save Playland.”
“No one will benefit more by the economic rejuvenation of Playland than the city of Rye,” the county spokesman said, adding, “so we hope the focus of Rye would be on ensuing the success of the deal to save to Playland.”
Meehan’s July 27 response noted that the county remains “open to discussions” with Rye on Playland matters.