Sustainable Playland Inc.’s plan to “restore and revitalize” the 100-acre amusement park has been making its way through County review for the last several months.
By Robin Jovanovich
Sustainable Playland Inc.’s plan to “restore and revitalize” the 100-acre amusement park has been making its way through County review for the last several months. The Rye-based nonprofit, which was selected to take over management from the County, submitted an improvement plan this summer to the County Executive for his input, which has been forwarded to the Board of Legislators for theirs.
Late last month we asked Kim Morque, president of Sustainable Playland, for an update. He spoke briefly about the various components and operators of each “zone” (Amusement, Fountain Plaza, Beach & Aqua, Shore, Field). The Executive Board is pleased with the various vendors and operators who have agreed to renovate, refine, and expand the variety of attractions and activities that will make Playland a financially sustainable year-round destination. (The park has only been open 92 days a year or less, depending on the weather.)
When asked whether the rides will be of “secondary importance” in the new plan, as many residents have charged, Morque said, “The rides are of primary importance. Much of the historic fabric has been badly compromised but we have a strong operator [Central Amusements International], and they are committed to restoring and preserving the historic rides, repairing the aging infrastructure, and replacing 21 exisiting rides over the next few years.” He added, “The size of the amusement park is not being reduced at all and we are allocating more parking for the amusement park.”
While nothing about the original concept has changed dramatically, the size of the proposed sports complex has “evolved.” When the SPI Improvement Plan was presented at the October 9 City Council meeting, residents were surprised to learn that the new Field Zone, to be operated by Playland Sports LLC, includes a 95,000 square-foot field house. Initially, a facility of 72,000 square feet was on the drawing board. Further, because of the shortage of athletic venues and the need for recreational space, the field house could be open until 10 p.m.
Neighbors of the park were quick to voice their concerns about increased traffic and noise, overflow parking on their streets, the loss of views of the park and the Sound from their streets and windows if such an enormous structure were built on the parking lot, right behind the maintenance buildings that back up to Roosevelt Avenue.
With the news, circulated last week, that the field house would have to be raised seven feet off the ground because that location is in a floodplain and therefore must comply with FEMA regulations, the concerns mounted.
Hoping to field all of Rye’s concerns about the Field Zone, representatives of SPI and Playland Sports are holding an information session at the Rye Free Reading Room, Wednesday, November 20 from 7 to 9 p.m.