WPCNR PLAYLAND GO-ROUND. Commentary from Stakeholders. June 14, 1014:
WPCNR continues to receive reaction on the fate of the Sustainable Playland proposal having been withdrawn this week and where it leaves the county attraction, Playland.
From Marissa Brett, of the Westchester County Association:
“We are deeply disappointed that after three years of discussions and planning, Westchester County and Sustainable Playland, Inc., have abandoned their agreement to redevelop Rye Playland. While no one party is to be blamed for letting the process flounder, certainly the process is at fault.
“Whether one agrees or not with Sustainable Playland’s proposed plans, it is apparent that the group invested considerable thought, time, effort, and money to rescue and resuscitate a money-losing county venture. Unfortunately, they had to work with multiple government entities, some with conflicting visions for the property, in developing their plans. In the end, Sustainable Playland ran out of patience and money for this project.
“Our concern is that this decision may jeopardize future projects between the private sector and the County. We have supported the use of Public-Private Partnerships to improve our County’s infrastructure and to monetize government assets. We need to encourage, and not discourage, more projects between the public and private sectors, such as North 60 at Grasslands in Valhalla, where Fareri Associates has a plan to develop 60 acres of County property for use by biotech companies, a key growth area for Westchester.
“Westchester needs a clear roadmap for developers to follow so there is less risk that important projects lose momentum and die. The Westchester County Association is committed to working with business and government to streamline the process, and we already are meeting with municipal leaders and sharing ideas. It is essential to upgrade our approach to development, and prevent others from spending millions of dollars that lead to nowhere.”
From County Legislator Ken Jenkins, (and Yonkers IDA Director):
“County Executive Rob Astorino seems to be doubling down on a failed approach that makes pre-mature pronouncements on a 10 year contract that will require a super-majority vote of the BOL and wastes taxpayers’ money to perform an analysis that the County Executive claims to have used in making his initial selection of Sustainable Playland.
“The time is now for the BOL, as the governing authority for Westchester County, to bring together the two remaining RFP respondents, Central Amusements and Standard Amusements and develop a lease for the management of Playland’s Amusement area using the framework of the 2010 Resolution adopted by the BOL regarding Playland.
These last two remaining RFP respondents are prepared today to invest $25 million dollars into the amusement area and get things up and running in time for the 2015 Playland season. The BOL did this with the Children’s Museum with a unanimous vote then a unanimous override of County Executive Astorino’s veto.
“Friends of the Parks are well established group that supports all of Westchester and is concession vendor at Playland. It will be interesting to see how the Astorino administration addresses the concerns of disparities that have come from organizations like the Central Park Conservancy.
“I am hopeful my colleagues on the BOL will combine the remaining RFP respondents and develop a lease to operate the amusement area at Playland based on over 2 years of Committee hearings and public review.”