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Playland partnership with Standard Amusement passed

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Westchester County legislators agreed on Monday to a $62 million private-public partnership to revive Playland amusement park in Rye.

The county will spend $32 million to fix infrastructure and renovate rides, games, concessions and the shoreline.

Standard Amusement LLC, a Manhattan hedge fund, will spend $30 million on new rides and attractions, restaurants, picnic areas, buildings and grounds.

The deal “is really a dream come true,” said Nicholas J. Singer, a native of Harrison who is a Standard partner. He said the amusement park meant a lot to him during his childhood and now he can ensure that generations of children will be able to enjoy it as he did.

Playland has been a beloved playground for generations of county residents since 1928. It has rare historic rides, Art Deco architecture, an ice rink, swimming pool, beach, boardwalk and great views of Long Island Sound.

But maintenance has been deferred and facilities are outdated. Attendance has fallen and the county has run up millions of dollars a year in deficits.

The Board of Legislators voted 13-4 to approve a 30-year partnership with Standard, culminating planning and negotiations that County Executive Robert Astorino began six years ago.

Standard will pay the county $2.25 million up front and invest $27.75 million in the park within five years. The county will receive annual management fees, beginning at $300,000, and adjusting annually for inflation. When Playland recoups its investment, the county will share profits, beginning at eight percent and increasing to 12 percent.

The county was considering investing as much as $58 million in improvements, as recently as two months ago. Legislators trimmed the county’s commitments by $26 million, or 45 percent, by eliminating or scaling back several projects.

Four Democratic legislators voted against the Standard agreement but voted for bonds to finance the county’s commitments.

Catherine Parker, who represents Rye and other towns around Playland, said the Astorino administration had starved Playland of investments and has given Standard more benefits than previously negotiated.

“Turning over the keys to one of our county’s most valuable assets without any avenue of accountability is a mistake that will cost us in the long, run,” she said.

Catherine Borgia (Ossining), Alfreda Williams (Greenburgh) and Ken Jenkins (Yonkers) also voted against the Standard partnership.

Playland’s 88th season will open on Saturday, May 7.

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1 COMMENT

  1. There is a convicted felon who is part of the trio of Standard who cant even enter Playland due to his crime. Don’t forget to thank those Legislators who voted for him !

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