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Westchester working on repairing Playland

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Westchester County is moving forward with plans to issue bonds to fund repairs at Rye Playland, which sustained more than $12 million in damage from Hurricane Sandy.

The county Board of Legislators’ budget and appropriations committee unanimously approved two bonds last week and approval from the full board is expected Jan. 28.

A $4,925,000 bond will fund repairs to the Playland Ice Casino, which sustained extensive damage. The facility’s roof requires major repairs before it can be reopened. Two doors were also blown off the building during the storm and a flood in the basement damaged the boilers.

A $7,575,000 bond will go toward repairing Playland’s heavily damaged boardwalk. Portions of the structure were washed away due to the high winds and storm surge. The boardwalk has been closed to the public since the storm.

The county expects to have about 70 percent of the bond reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Insurance will also pick up some of the tab. Legislator Catherine Borgia said it’s important that Playland opens in time for the summer season.

“Playland is an iconic asset for Westchester,” Borgia said. “It creates a lot of economic opportunity; it creates a lot of jobs for young people.”

Legislators also announced that the government operations committee will evaluate the four proposals for the revitalization of Playland in the committee meeting on Jan. 28.

The Board of Legislators has claimed that County Executive Robert P. Astorino’s choice of the Sustainable Playland proposal from the original 12 proposals is illegal, because the Board never voted to approve the county’s agreement with Sustainable Playland to revamp the park.

Astorino claims the management agreement his administration signed with Sustainable Playland is not a lease, and as such, does not require the approval of the Board. The Board decided to unilaterally review each of the proposals, and has selected the Sustainable Playland, Central Amusements, Standard Amusements and LegoLand plans as finalists.

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