RYE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The City of Rye is suing Westchester County over its refusal to disclose proposed changes to Rye Playland with the city.
As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, everybody seems to agree that the park needs to be spruced up. But the questions as to what should go there and who decides are not so easily answered.
Rye City Councilman Richard Mecca lives just steps from the park. He said the county has ideas for improvements, but has not shared them.
“We would love it if the county would have a sit-down at the table and say, ‘These are our plans,’” Mecca said.
The city deserves a seat at the table, according to Mecca.
“Right now, we feel we should have a say,” he said.
Mecca said the lawsuit was filed to protect Rye’s interests. A county spokesman said the suit threatens the future of Playland.
In May, Westchester County legislators approved a plan to ensure the future of Rye Playland through a public-private partnership.
The approval of county Executive Rob Astorino’s plan means New York-based Standard Amusements will make a $30 million private investment in return for the right to operate the amusement park.
Standard Amusements plans to add new rides — potentially a small waterpark for kids — as well as restaurants and games and upgrade the park’s physical plant while trying to maintain Playland’s family-friendly feel.
Standard will turn to United Parks — led by chief executive officer Jack Falfas, an amusement industry veteran — to handle the park’s day-to-day operations.
An earlier agreement to save the money-losing park was scrapped two years ago. The partner in that deal, Sustainable Playland Inc., had planned to make Playland a year-round attraction — in part by adding athletic fields and a field house.
But that ran into opposition in the county Legislature and in some neighborhoods of Rye, where the park is located. Some lawsuits were filed, others were threatened, and the agreement never got past the planning stage.
The Art Deco landmark park was included in the Tom Hanks movie “Big,” is the largest government-run amusement park in the country.