By Robin Jovanovich
A funny thing happened on the way to Standard Amusement’s assuming the management of Playland, the County-owned park, as reported in this publication as well as every major news outlet — for years.
The first inkling of a sea change in policy was a press release from County Legislator Catherine Parker’s office in mid-March calling for an end to the agreement “because the deal required the County to invest millions with no real opportunity to recoup the investment.”
In a conversation with Parker, she referred to a change in the contract by the Astorino administration before they left office at the end of 2017.
Fast forward to a conversation this week with George Latimer, who bested Astorino in last fall’s election.
“The deal still requires the County to run Playland this year, and probably the next,” explained Latimer. “Operational responsibility falls to the County Parks Department.”
The County Executive acknowledged that a “team” is currently reviewing the deal with Standard to “judge what we like and don’t like. We’re two weeks away from making a public statement regarding that assessment.”
The County has already allocated $42 million to restore the aging Art Deco facility, according to Latimer. “The park needs three times that investment to bring it to good physical condition.”
Latimer emphasized that “we’re not here to blow up this deal or any other.”
Before press time, we spoke to a representative of Nicholas Singer, who brokered the Playland deal three years ago. He preferred to wait before responding to the news.
Meanwhile, Playland is set to open for its 90th season on May 12.