RYE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There has been a major development for the future of Playland, the country’s only government-operated amusement park.
A thaw in the legal battle over control of Playland in Rye means Westchester County will allow a private firm to run the park, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reports.
“We’re at a point now where cooperation, cooperative effort together, is the best way to protect the interests of the taxpayers and the users of the park,” County Executive George Latimer said.
It’s a strategic reversal by Latimer, who just last year tried to kill a deal cut by his predecessor with Standard Amusements to manage the park.
Standard filed to bankruptcy, which made the county unlikely to win a lawsuit over canceling the contract.
The settlement ends a legal roller coaster ride between Westchester County and the company. It was bitter at times, like two guys in bumper cars trying to knock each other out.
Standard was modest in claiming victory, saying it “looks forward to working closely together in the coming years to ensure that Playland thrives.”
The county says the settlement will strengthen oversight of Standard’s commitment to spend $25 million on new rides, attractions and food service.
“People will come to the park, have a better experience. They will be more likely to return, which is part of how we reach our numbers, not just by the one-time trial visit, but by the repeat visit,” Latimer said.
The county also negotiated better terms for fees and revenue sharing that could eventually earn Westchester $1 million a year.
If the pandemic eases and the park reopens in the spring, it will be the final season before the 30-year deal with the private firm kicks in 2022.
The settlement does require final approval from the county board of legislators and federal bankruptcy court.
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