WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Board of Legislators with a WPCNR interview with Ken Jenkins. August 8, 2014 (Edited)
County Legislator Kenneth Jenkins announced today that he has introduced legislation to lease the Playland amusement area to a partnership comprised of Central Amusements and Standard Amusements, the two remaining respondents to the proposal to reinvent Playland, which was issued by County Executive Astorino in 2010.
Mr. Jenkins told WPCNR, the legislation is in the form of a “Bill-Memo” that has yet to be considered within committee yet. He said at this time, “no other legislator is buying into it yet, we haven’t even dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s yet.”
He described the “bill memo” as an attempt to get both amusement companies to run Playland jointly, that would possibley get the County $3 million to pay the Playland debt service as early as 2015, while the firm or firms if a common lease could be hammered would invest $25 Million the park in refreshed rides, new rides, while preserving the historic one.
Jenkins said the proposals of the two firms had already been examined by the Board three years ago, and the firms have not altered their proposal and he said they have not altered it significantly. He said Legislator Peter Harckham’s committee when they take up the review process again in September could do what they wished. He said Harckham had not backed his joint proposal at this time.
Jenkins told WPCNR, both Central Amusements and Standard would pay for County Police security at the park, would allow free admission and charge for rides only; move county employees out of Playland and hire summer employees. He said the details of the lease had not been worked out, and that was part of the idea of submitting a “bill-memo” so the concept of how a joint deal might be worked out. “Everybody participates adds, takes away, and shapes the final bill.”
The proposed legislation will be referred to committee at the next regular meeting of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) on September 8, 2014, after it was held over at the last BOL meeting on August 4, 2014 by Minority Leader John Testa (R-Peekskill).
Editor’s Note:The legislation is being introduced before the new review of Central Amusements and Standard Amusements “visions” and financials for Playland should they take it over, even begins. That review is not scheduled until September, reported County Legislator Benjamin Boykin to WPCNR Tuesday evening.
The proposed legislation that Jenkins has introduced to enter into a lease agreement to operate the Playland amusement area with Central Amusements and Standard Amusements is modeled on the County’s lease with the Children’s Museum to operate at Playland which was adopted unanimously by the BOL after being vetoed by County Executive Astorino.
Editor’s Note: the lease with the Children’s Museum was for a lease fee of $1 a year, with the Museum investing, at last indication,$10 Million in money to fill the bathhouse with attractions. The organization has yet to raise the $10 Million, after the county invested over $8 Million in renovating the North Bathhouse for the museum which the county is not expecting to be paid back. In return, Mr. Jenkins told WPCNR this afternoon, the Museum would invest $8 to $12 Million in fleshing out the museum.
“The combined talents of these two world-class amusement operators and their confirmed investment of $25 million into Playland with a guaranteed minimum payment to Westchester County is a win-win-win situation for this great park’s future and the county’s taxpayers,” said Jenkins. “I am hopeful that this legislation can be considered and adopted in time to positively impact the 2015 County Budget.”
Lawsuit Against Astorino Management Agreement Is Withdrawn.
Westchester County Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers)also announced today that the lawsuit challenging the management agreement between Westchester County and Sustainable Playland, Inc. (SPI) has been terminated, now that Sustainable Playland has withdrawn from consideration.
“Filing a lawsuit was the only option after County Executive Astorino entered into the management agreement with Sustainable Playland without the approval of the Board of Legislators, which is required for any County contract that exceeds five years,” said Jenkins. “The SPI agreement crumbled under the scrutiny of the Board of Legislators’ review process. The truth, though, is that this management agreement should have never been authorized by the Board of Acquisition and Contract in the first place without the approval of the Board of Legislators.”
Yonkers attorney Evan Inlaw represented Jenkins and entered into an agreement to terminate the legal action after receiving a copy a letter, which is attached to this press release, from SPI to County Executive Astorino, noting that the not-for-profit organization was exercising its right to terminate the Asset Management Agreement it had signed with Westchester County to revitalize Playland.