Time for Big Thinking, Again
In response to former Councilman Seitz’s letter in your July 17 issue, I could not agree more. Rye needs a strategic planning committee made up of the incredible private-sector talent available within this community. It has been ten years since a group of Rye citizens came together to re-imagine Playland. Its development plan included activities for all: playing fields and an indoor field house for sports, a state-of-the-art double hockey rink, conference space, passive walking paths, restaurants on the water, and historical components of the amusement park. And the best part? The County approved the plan!
Subsequent City Councils sued the County. The lawyers took over. The plan imploded. Today, millions of more dollars are being spent – on attorneys. Rye residents continue to flock elsewhere for those types of amenities.
The same was true at that time for Rye Golf. The City was digging into the future possibilities of that facility when a financial scandal was uncovered — one that had been years in the making. The bottom line, governments should not be in the amusement park or restaurant business.
Now, an opportunity is once again before Rye. Changes in technology, work-life, commuting, learning, shopping, socializing, playing, and dining have created new behaviors – some of which may last, others which may not. But just like Playland, where we re-imagined a park that was built for 1928 recreation, Rye should explore the community of the future. Former Councilman Seitz had it right. The Rye brand is unique. That is why we have all come and stayed. That demand will only grow in the future. It is time again for big thinking, time for a strategic plan that puts smart minds and community input into action.
- Douglas French, former Mayor of Rye