County Executive Robert P. Astorino has reached a 10-year agreement with Sustainable Playland Inc. (SPI) to run Rye Playland and take it off the county’s hands.
Sustainable Playland will take over the park Oct. 1, assuming all approvals are met, including from the county’s Board of Acquisition and Contract. Sustainable Playland plans to invest $34 million in the park.
“Not only will the Dragon Coaster and the other historic rides be preserved, but the attractions will be expanded to make the park a destination for families year round,” Astorino said in a statement. “We have the vision and expertise in place for Playland to thrive for generations to come.”
Under the agreement, SPI will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of both the amusement area and the surrounding 100 acres of parkland. Proceeds to pay the county, maintain the grounds and make improvements will come from equity investments from the operators, fees SPI charges its operators, revenues generated by the attractions run by the operators and other revenue such as parking and sponsorships.
“The SPI plan is designed to preserve, restore and enhance the historic character and qualities of Playland, including the historic amusement rides, the classic buildings and the landscape,” said Kim Morque, president of SPI.
Democratic Legislators said they were not ready to support the agreement, saying they have not read the agreement and questioning whether it does not violate the County Charter.
“The Astorino administration said its goal was to stop losing money at Playland, but Sustainable is not the way,” said Board of Legislators Majority Leader Pete Harckham (D-Katonah) in a statement. “From what we have seen and heard during numerous committee meetings held on the subject, Sustainable is the least competitive financially. But most importantly, this agreement essentially privatizes county parkland.”