A BLUEPRINT Win! Park to be Major Boon to Westchester Economy
After years of speculation, it was announced Thursday that Westchester County will be turning over Rye Playland's operations to a private partnership that would invest $34 million in capital improvements to the money-losing, county-owned amusement park. In a letter of intent signed today...
Sustainable Playland, Inc. will build a water park as part of its redevelopment plan for Rye Playland.
...with Sustainable Playland, Inc., Westchester taxpayers would be rid of the burden of operating the park which loses $3-5 million annually. Sustainable Playland would lease the park for $1.2 million a year and transform it into a year-round destination.
"It's an outstanding plan," says Bill Mooney, president of the Westchester County Association who was on hand for today's announcement. Sustainable plans to add a small water park, a field house, ballfields, and a "Great Lawn."
According to the Associated Press, "some of the park's newer rides would come down to make room for the lawn, gardens and a vista of Long Island Sound. But the 84-year-old park's best-known features - the wooden 'Dragon' roller coaster, the old carousel, Kiddyland and a boardwalk featured in the Tom Hanks movie 'Big' - would be retained."
"Since the start, the Blueprint for Westchester [WCA's major economic development initiative] has supported the privatization of Playland and Sustainable's plan to transform the park into a family recreation center. It will create hundreds of jobs and be a destination for families throughout the Tri-State Area," adds Mooney.
Admission, including access to the Great Lawn, will be free. Fees will be charged for rides and other attractions, but no details were given at the news conference held at Playland on Thursday.
County Executive Rob Astorino says that the contract with Sustainable Playland, Inc. will likely be finalized by year's end. That said, any contract between the county and Sustainable Playland is subject to approval by the Westchester County Board of Legislators, which could conceivably cause a delay.
According to the plan, in addition to annual lease payments of $1.2 million, the county would receive $4 million up front from Sustainable and ultimately, $18 million to be used to pay off the park's debt, which has been mounting steadily. The county would continue to own the land during the ten-year management agreement.