RYE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The future of Rye Playland is all wet.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino announced Thursday that a water park will be added to the amusement park. A new operator, Sustainable Playland Inc., will run the park.
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In addition to the water park, the new operator will add a “Great Lawn” facing the Long Island sound. The space will be suitable for hosting events like graduations and concerts. They will also add ball fields and a field house.
“People can come in here and enjoy the sweeping views of the Sound, spend no money or spend as much money as they want here,” Astorino told CBS 2’s Lou Young.
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The new operator will also make $34 million in capital improvements to the existing park.
“The county is going to get a $4 million upfront payment from Sustainable, a minimum base fee of $1.2 million each year which will rise as they get more revenue here,” Astorino told Young. “The good news is the county taxpayers over the next 12 years are going to be able to retire all the debt here and save $18 million in the process, so it’s a big win. The park stays open no matter what.”
Astorino has complained that Playland is losing more money than taxpayers should have to cover. He said last year that closing the park could save $2 million a year.
Some of the groups involved in the new plan already run public spaces like Bryant Park in Manhattan for a fee, acting like the landlord to keep everything running smoothly.
Dan Biederman of Biederman Development Ventures said he expects to be running the public space concessions and predicted the county will make out well under the proposed plan.
“This is a rich deal for the county compared to other deals I’ve been involved with including Bryant [Park] and ones I’ve looked at like Central Park,” Biederman told Young.
But some Westchester County lawmakers said they are not ready to jump on board with the new plans just yet.
“We really need to take a look at the financial estimates,” county legislator Bill Ryan told Young.
“We would like to run solid numbers and more detailed numbers,” legislator Cathryn Borgia added.
Playland is a National Historic Landmark and opened in 1928. It was featured in the 1988 Tom Hanks film “Big.” Among its famous old rides are the wooden “Dragon” roller coaster and a high-speed carousel, which will remain at the park.
What do you think of the future plan for Playland? Sound off in the comments section below.
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