Although ice hockey players and county officials were hopeful the Rye Playland Ice Casino damaged by Hurricane Sandy would be ready to open by this September, it will not be ready to open any time this year, according to news reports. The rest of the park will open on May 11, although the north boardwalk will remain closed until next year due to the extensive storm damage there, according to officials.
County Legislator Catherine Borgia called the Ice Casino update “shocking and disappointing,” in a News12 interview this week.
The rink suffered extensive damage when Sandy’s winds ripped open the structure’s doors and a 15-foot storm surge brought several feet of water into the basement, which damaged the boilers and equipment there. It needs new roofing, boilers and structural work. The county board of legislators approved a $4.5 million bond to pay for repairs in late January, when they believed the casino would be ready to open by September, in time for the next hockey season. But design work has taken longer than expected and will not be complete until May; then the project has to go to bid and construction is expected to take from six to nine months, said Public Works Commissioner Jay Pisco, according to The Journal News’ Elizabeth Ganga.
Earlier this month, Rye resident Karen Bresolin updated the ice hockey community about her meeting with county officials, where they told her the rink would be open by next March, the earliest. Bresolin has organized a “Pucks for Playland” group on Facebook to advocate for the preservation of the building and the opening of the Ice Casino for next season.
“I made it clear that Directors and Coaches had to book their ice NOW for the next season. No one could afford to skate through another over budget season of late night practices in far off places and reduced game and practice schedules,” Breslin wrote in her message to the hockey community.
“Westchester County will be losing $1.7 million in revenue, not only for Westchester but for New York State. Teams will commit to private rinks across Westchester and Connecticut, with no guarantee that they will ever return to Playland.”
Meanwhile, the county is working to turn management of Playland park, including the Ice Casino, to an outside group. County Executive Rob Astorino approved Sustainable Playland Inc. as the new management organization last year, but members of the county legislature have said they need to approve that decision and have not yet made the final call on which group they want to manage the county-owned park. Read more on that here.