Four months ago, County Executive Rob Astorino announced that the 17-member Citizens Committee he’d appointed to review proposals to reinvent Playland had made its selection.
By Robin Jovanovich
Four months ago, County Executive Rob Astorino announced that the 17-member Citizens Committee he’d appointed to review proposals to reinvent Playland had made its selection. At a ceremony at the park, he signed a letter of intent with Sustainable Playland Inc., a Rye-based nonprofit group, whose plan is to create a year-round destination, while respecting the historic character of the park and protecting the waterfront environment. A ten-year lease was expected to be signed as soon as due diligence was performed.
All seemed to be going according to plan until a few weeks ago, when the Board of Legislators announced their intention to continue to review the “final four” proposals, one of which — Legoland — wasn’t in the running earlier.
Before the Citizen’s Committee, which includes Rye’s Legislator Judy Myers, made its final selection, there were three finalists; Standard Amusements and Central Amusements being the other two.
On January 24, a throng of residents gathered at the Rye home of Caroline and Andrew Walker to express their support for the Sustainable Playland (SPI) plan to guest speaker Legislator Myers.
Another member of the Citizen’s Committee, Mayor Doug French, spoke first. He explained the long, deliberative process undergone to choose the best operator for Playland. He added that the City Council had recently sent a letter of unanimous support for SPI.
While stating that she was fully in support of SPI, Legislator Myers said the Board of Legislators wanted its own look at the potential of all four plans. When asked if there was any reason the Board might not support SPI, she answered, “Some legislators perceive it as being a Rye-only project.”
Rye resident Howard Husock urged Myers to keep this battle [between the Board and the County Executive] out of court. “A lawsuit would be the worst possible result and mean years of delay for a new plan for Playland.”
Meanwhile, a call to Ned McCormack, the County Executive’s Communications Director, suggested that SPI was still the frontrunner. “We’re actively working on an asset management agreement, and hope to have it wrapped up in February,” he said. “We have to have a contract through which SPI can operate. We’ve been talking to the individual operators. The plan will be phased in.”
On Wednesday, the Board of Legislators announced that the Government Operations Committee Members would hold a public input session on the four Playland proposals Wednesday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the County Center in White Plains.