WPCNR PLAYLAND GO-ROUND. By John F. Bailey. June 12, 2015:
The last meeting of the County Legislature Labor Parks Planning Housing Committee Wednesday morning failed to reach agreement on approving the Memorandum of Understanding between Westchester County and Standard Amusements, the entity on the verge pending a vote Monday of becoming Managing Operator of the landmark amusement park, Playland in 2016.
The Committee discovered that an arrangement by which county employees would be assigned to Playland and their wages paid by the county and the county reimbursed by Standard Amusements was not spelled out specifically in the agreement.
This oversight was pointed out doggedly by County Legislator Benjamin Boykin, despite Chair of the Board of Legislators Michael Kaplowitz not recalling any such discussionin previous commitee meetings.
Chairman of the Committee, County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky and Legislator Catherine Borgia remembered this exchange and agreed with Mr. Boykin.
Kaplowitz backtracked and agreed to add language which he suggested on the spot. Kevin Plunkett, the Deputy County Executive said he was reluctant to approve language that might in some way upset or be prohibited by union existing contracts. It was agreed that the new language would be run past legal either Thursday and Friday.
The execution of Capital Projects requiring County expenditures required for the Playland existing structures, was disputed by Legislator Kay Parker of Rye, as being inadequate. The agreement as written says the County and Standard Amusements will review together the capital needs of the park that the county needs to fund.
Parker said the procedure on deciding capital project necessity “lacks specifity. I don’t see an agreement to review is going to bring these projects about in a timely fashion.”
Parker said the Astorino administration in its revised second draft of the review of capital projects and procedure for determining what capital projects should be done and the costs, did not meet her earlier concerns.
“I want to see Standard Amusements succeed . I want to take one more day to put in language that will add some specifics,” she said.
Parker and Shimsky said they would work on the new legal capital projects review language, which has to be approved in time for a scheduled vote on Monday evening on approving the Memorandum of Understanding with Standard Amusements.
The third area of contention again involved the matter of what entity decides what, this time on it involved the pool at the park.
Ms. Shimsky, the Chair of the Committee asked Mr. Singer, principal of Standard Amusements about his plan to preserve the pool, if it could be preserved.
Singer said the pool had many problems, its infrastructure was sinking, the pool depth was too deep and as he has said for 10 weeks of review, Standard has to go in this summer and evaluate the pool (as with the rest of the structures and how the pool is operated).
Singer said presently the Memorandum of Agreement that stipulates the pool area needs to be a pool or a water feature. Shimsky, pressing asked how what happened to the pool is determined, whether their would still be a pool.
Mr. Singer read the memorandum of agreement draft,
“The manager should shall have the ability to repurpose the pool area as long as it contains a water feature.”
This brought a collective quiet intake of breath by some committee members.
Shimsky, after a few seconds of silence, said ‘I guess we will have need of legal counsel.”
Singer said his legal team would have to look at the changes in the county employees employed by Standard at Playland and any additions to the capital Projects review procedure that Parker and Shimsky are working on.
Mr. Kaplowitz said the changes whatever had to be in very quickly as to be reviewed by the concerned parties: the County Executive’s office, Standard Amusements and of course the legislators.
The meeting can be seen at the Westchester County Legislators website at