Kaplowitz: Rye Playland's Future Is 'As Clear As Mud'

RYE, N.Y. – Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D – Somers) wants to get moving on Rye Playland.

Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

The County Executive’s office plans to wait for a study's recommendations on how best to make Playland a year-round attraction.

But Kaplowitz said the BOL’s parks committee is meeting Sept. 4 with two other companies – Standard Amusements and Central Amusements - to see if they can come up with a plan to run the amusement park either separately or together.

“One of the things we're trying to do is make sure that whatever is proposed is vetted and is real and works out for the people,” Kaplowitz said.

“And secondly, we'd like to get it up and running for 2015, and kicking the can down the road four months begins to endanger the 2015 season.

“We are not going to simply sit by and let this asset not be maximized,” he said.

Since the BOL scrapped Sustainable Playland as the proposective park operator, the county has not yet replaced it.

Instead, it hired architect Dan Biederman, known for his work on Bryant Park, to look for ways to increase revenues, control costs and improve the visitor experience while expanding Playland from a 90-day amusement park to a year-round attraction.

“He has a blank piece of paper to look at the strategic and tactical opportunities in front of us,” said Ned McCormack, communications director for the County Executive's office.

Reflecting on his first six months as chairman, Kaplowitz said the BOL’s review process revealed the cracks in Sustainable Playland’s plan and that it just wasn’t meant to be.

“If they couldn't stand the questions here, how were they going to run a roller coaster and an amusement park for $14 million a year and all the other operations with hundreds of employees?” he asked.

“They just didn't have the roots that the County Executive thought they had.”

Looking ahead, the county is finalizing a 10-year contract with a 10-year renewal option with American Skating to operate the Ice Casino.

Within the contract's first 18 months, American Skating plans to make $640,000 to refurbish and modernize the interior.

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