Harckham to head up Board of Legislators Review of the Astorino Sustainable Playland Plan–90 Day Process

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WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Board of Legislators. February11, 2014:

The Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) referred County Executive Robert P. Astorino’s Playland Improvement Plan to the BOL Committee on Labor, Parks, Planning & Housing (LPPH) last night, thereby commencing a substantive review process of the proposal promised by LPPH Committee Chair Peter Harckham (D, I, WF – North Salem).

Legislator Harckham outlined his vision for the review process today, and remarked, “This proposal will have enormous implications for the people and taxpayers of Westchester for generations to come. Playland is an iconic park and we have to use this opportunity to get any changes right. As Chair of the Committee charged with this important oversight responsibility, I will strive to foster a fair, thorough and transparent process.”

Harckham added the process for the review of the Playland plan is critical.

“This will be a collaborative and inclusive process—all stakeholders will have a seat at the table,” said Harckham. “I expect the Committee members will make site visits to Playland to review the specifics, and we will hold at least two public hearings to gather input from the public. There is enormous public interest in this project in both the neighboring communities to the park and throughout the county. Giving residents and other concerned individuals an opportunity to voice their approval and concerns is a crucial element in moving the plan forward.”

The first public hearing, Harckham stated, will be early in the process to get on the record what issues and concerns the public may have about the Playland plan so that the LPPH can address them in its deliberations. The second hearing will be as the LPPH nears the end of its analysis.

Given the ninety-day window laid out in the County Executive’s Asset Management Agreement with Sustainable Playland, Inc. (SPI), Harckham said that a “comprehensive, inclusive and expeditious review “ of the plan would be undertaken, though “no details will be overlooked for the sake of timeliness.” To accomplish this, Harckham said he will schedule LPPH meetings every week devoted exclusively to the Playland review.

After the Committee on Labor, Parks, Planning & Housing votes out the final piece of legislation regarding the Playland plan, it will be referred to the Committee on Budget & Appropriations, as well as the Committee on Economic Development & Capital Projects before going to the full BOL for final approval.

Harckham declined to predict an outcome for the Playland Improvement Plan.

”In all my time on the Board of Legislators, our best work is done when we collaboratively review the facts and seek to understand the best ideas for long-term success that may exist,” he said. “That is my goal for this process.”

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