Playland is the stuff that dreams are made of — a classicly-designed amusement park that holds fond memories for countless families, an oasis of old-fashioned fun in an increasingly dense suburban environment.
By Robin Jovanovich
Playland is the stuff that dreams are made of — a classicly-designed amusement park that holds fond memories for countless families, an oasis of old-fashioned fun in an increasingly dense suburban environment. Generations of children learned to ride their bikes on the Boardwalk, took their first “Carpet Ride,” and came off the roller coaster asking to go up again!
For more than 30 years, however, attendance, especially by Westchester residents, has been on a downward spiral, and County officials have talked about ways to save the park. It now loses close to $5 million annually and needs an estimated $30 million in infrastructure repairs.
But until Rob Astorino was elected County Executive in 2009, it’s been mostly just talk. He decided to act, form a 17-member committee, and send out a Request for Proposals to reinvent the park. The committee reviewed the proposals and Sustainable Playland Inc. came out the winner. Or, it seemed that way in October 2012.
With SPI’s proposed plan currently under review by the Board of Legislators, a number of questions have come up about the traffic and environmental studies for which SPI has yet to provide satisfactory answers.
Last week, the Friends of Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary wrote to SPI President Kim Morque, informing him that they could no longer support the proposal. The group said they’d been “assured that the shore zone which lies between Playland and the Sanctuary would only be used for overflow parking on summer holidays and two or three special events. But during a meeting with concerned residents on March 23, Morque stated that, ‘SPI intended to use the area between the Sound and Manursing Lake every weekend in July and August.’ In view of this reversal, the Friends of Edith Read cannot support SPI’s proposal for the future of Playland.”
On Wednesday, the BOL released a statement on the progress to date. In it, Legislator Pete Harckman said, “SPI agreed to this review process, so it should have been prepared to face a lot of questions about their planned changes, from top to bottom, at Playland. “The ball is still in their court. I want to be optimistic that SPI will come to its senses and simply realize that the Board of Legislators is exercising due diligence for all of our residents and taxpayers.”
The same day Ned McCormack of the County Executive’s Office told the paper, “The process continues. The County Executive is in conversations with Rye officials and the Board of Legislators.
We have an agreement with SPI. There is a lot of ‘inside baseball’ going on. We are committed to Playland as an asset that can be used 365 days a year. We don’t want to lose sight of that big picture.”