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Rye Playland Future Uncertain After Company Picked To Reimagine Park Backs Out Of Review Process

Rye Playland's Dragon Coaster (Photo courtesy Kid Trotters blog)

Rye Playland’s Dragon Coaster (Photo courtesy Kid Trotters blog)

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A nonprofit group that has proposed revamping Rye Playland, the Westchester County-owned, money-losing amusement park, said Tuesday it is stepping away from the process, at least temporarily.

Sustainable Playland Inc., whose plan was selected by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino in 2012, said it is suspending its participation in a county review of the project.

The group blamed unresolved issues including a demand by Rye that the city be given various rights of approval. It also cited a lawsuit filed by county Legislator Ken Jenkins, D-Yonkers, claiming that Astorino did not have the right to choose Sustainable Playland without lawmakers’ approval.

“To keep going when there’s this now very big cloud of uncertainty hanging over the entire process makes no sense,” Sustainable Playland spokesman Geoff Thompson told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

In a letter to Astorino, Sustainable Playland said those issues were upsetting both the economics and the timing of its plans. It said they introduced uncertainty that made its continued participation “pointless.”

But it said it “remains committed to our vision and the goals of renewing and restoring the park.” And it expressed hope for a resolution.

In response, Astorino, a Republican candidate for governor, called on Michael B. Kaplowitz, chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, and Rye Mayor Joseph Sack to meet with him “to figure out how we can move this forward and get this thing going because the status quo is unacceptable at Playland,” the county executive told Diamond.

Playland is costing taxpayers $4 million each year, Astorino added.

The Sustainable Playland plan calls for removing some amusement rides and adding a small water park, a field house, ball fields and a “Great Lawn” and incorporating a children’s museum. The 86-year-old park would keep its iconic wooden Dragon coaster, its old carousel and a boardwalk featured in the Tom Hanks movie “Big.”

The Board of Legislators was reviewing the group’s 10-year plan, which would convert the park into a year-round entertainment destination.

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