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Westchester Board of Legislators Chair Voices Cautious Support for New Plans for Playland

"I look forward to continuing to work with the County Executive to remake Playland," says Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz.

On Wednesday, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino outlined new initiatives in an effort to save Playland, and Thursday the county's Board of Legislators voiced cautious support of the efforts.

The Rye-based attraction, which is run by the county, has been losing money for some time, and past efforts to save it - particularly as it relates to some of the actions of Sustainable Playland Inc. (SPI) - have faced skepticism.

Astorino and legislators are hoping for a fresh start, and the county has hired urban space manager Dan Biederman to conduct a total park review. 

“SPI is proud of the vision it put forth for Playland Park," said Kim Morque, President of Sustainable Playland’s Board of Trustees, in a statement. SPI's role has been transitioned to fundraising. 

"We remain committed to a restoration and preservation plan that recognizes the park’s unique and historic characteristics. While SPI’s role is evolving, its vision and commitment has not changed. We will continue with our original mission of being a community-based organization that partners with Westchester County to enhance and restore the park.”

Below is the press release from the Board of Legislators concerning Playland's future:

In light of the County Executive's announcement that Sustainable Playland Incorporated (SPI) is transitioning to an advocacy and fundraising role, Board of Legislators (BOL) Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D) Somers, is advising the Labor Parks Planning and Housing Committee Chair, Legislator Peter Harckham (D) North Salem, and the Budget and Appropriations Committee Chair, Legislator Sheila Marcotte ( R ) Tuckahoe, that their committees are released from further review and deliberation on SPI's Playland Improvement Plan (PIP). 

The Board of Legislators continues to welcome all ideas that contribute to the optimization and success of Playland and looks forward to meeting with Mr. Biederman at the earliest possible time to understand the scope of his analysis and specifically what work product he anticipates delivering at the end of his review. The BOL will also look forward to hearing from American Skating Entertainment Centers about their plans for capital improvements to the iconic Ice Casino. The BOL will continue to exercise is Charter-mandated oversight responsibility with respect to all contracts and physical modifications at the park. 

Chairman Michael kaplowitz said, "I look forward to continuing to work with the County Executive to remake Playland. Following a thorough and productive review process in our Labor Parks and Planning Committee, it was apparent that SPI's plan had some good features but unfortunately wasn't detailed and comprehensive enough to secure support from a majority of Legislators. The BOL will continue to work with all stakeholders in County Government, Rye and residents all across Westchester County to ensure that we are making the best decisions regarding our stewardship of this truly unique and historic county asset."

Chairman Kaplowitz added, "Playland is open for business and we encourage all of our residents to come out to the park soon. We have seen a large turnout each weekend of this season and we look forward to a great remainder of the summer at Playland."


Deirdre Curran June 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Astorino has, once again, gone ahead and completely by-passed the BOL in the decision making process and attempted to take all control out of their hands.
Deirdre Curran June 12, 2014 at 11:44 AM
http://rye.patch.com/groups/opinion/p/astorino-paying-biederman-20k-a-month-to-tell-us-whats-wrong-at-playland
Tom Murphy June 12, 2014 at 05:39 PM
Does a $20,000 a month consulting contract require an RFP? If we need to hire a consultant shouldn't it be a person who has experience in running amusement parks? Does the BOL have a say in whether this contract is funded? This really is absurd and a monumental waste of taxpayer funds. There are 2 amusement park operators waiting in the wings to take the park over., invest in infrastructure and promise the county profits. Why wait for a study from someone who was intregal to a plan that is now universally viewed as a failure?
Deirdre Curran June 12, 2014 at 11:42 PM
An interesting note that occurred to me tonight while I was walking my dog on the Boardwalk: Astorino is going to go ahead and continue to contract the company that SPI was going to use for the SKATING RINK and move forward with THAT Operator. How come he isn't going to do the same for the company SPI was going to use for the AMUSEMENT PARK (Central Amusements Inc.)? Could it be because he knows that they would come in, infuse money into the park, turn it around into a monumental success story and then...what...he'd LOOK BAD? Talk about off the rails stupidity. Clearly, the plan STILL is for that Amusement Park to fail at all costs.

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