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Playland Management Deal Under New Review By Westchester County Legislators

Rye Playland's snow-coated "Fun Slide" is on slippery grounds with a new review of the county contract with Standard Amusements. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Standard Amusements co-founder Nicholas Singer, center, with former County Executive Rob Astorino. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

Playland's modernization -- a priority project of former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino -- is now back under the microscope of the county Board of Legislators, which previously challenged the management contract with Standard Amusements.

The historic, county-owned park in Rye has been managed by Harrison native Nicholas Singer, founder of Standard Amusements, for the past year. He was not immediately available for comment.

The contract between the county and Standard Amusements was signed in 2016 by Astorino. New County Executive George Latimer of Rye has said that his administration has not made a decision about the county-owned park's management future.

“Public-private partnerships are designed to be a win for both parties. The public-private partnership with Standard Amusements to manage Playland has steadily shifted the burden to the public,” said county Legislator Catherine Parker of Rye, the Board’s Majority Leader who represents the district where Playland is located.

Parker, who has called on the Latimer administration to terminate the agreement, continued, “Given the stated County obligation of tens of millions of dollars for capital improvements in the contract, that we know is significantly higher, the mechanism to recoup those investments is not in the agreement.

The goal to unburden the public was negotiated away under the last administration, with substantive changes since the BOL vote in 2016. I look forward to hearing what the new administration has learned related to the management of Playland since taking office.”

The Board’s review of the contract will be undertaken by the committees on Budget and Appropriations; Law and Major Contracts; Parks, Planning and Economic Development; and Public Works.

Legislator Lyndon Williams, chair of the Committee on Law & Major Contracts, said, "This 30-year long-term contract has significant economic effect on county taxpayers, with the county and Standard's commitments of $60 million."

Legislator Catherine Borgia, chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, said it "will be conducting a rigorous financial review of Playland in order to make sure the decisions we make about the park are what is best for the taxpayers of Westchester."

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