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http://newyork.newsday.com/westchester/astorino-new-playland-manager-move-toward-contract-1.4350321

 

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and the local nonprofit he's tapped to take over Rye Playland said they expect to sign a contract at the end of January, paving the way for the nonprofit to begin work at the beloved public amusement park this summer.

 

But as the Republican county executive and Sustainable Playland negotiate the terms of the contract, the Board of Legislators continues to meet with other companies who say they could run the park more profitably.

 

On Tuesday, representatives from Legoland Development told county lawmakers that they would be willing to invest as much as $200 million in Playland -- around $166 million more than Sustainable Playland -- in a 50-year redevelopment plan that would radically alter the character of the 1920's-era park on Long Island Sound, giving it a Lego theme.

 

"We've been interested in the U.S. East Coast for a long time," said John Ussher, general manager of Legoland Development, which operates amusement parks around the world, including in California and Florida.

 

Legoland broke ground for a much smaller Legoland Discovery Center at Ridge Hill in Yonkers in October; the 32,000-square-foot facility is set to open in March 2013.

 

The meeting between Ussher and legislators in White Plains highlights how prospects for Playland remain uncertain even as Astorino claims the park's future will be solidified once he signs a contract with Sustainable Playland.

 

Democrats met with Ussher because they question whether Astorino has the authority to allow a private group to operate Playland. Arguing that the board must approve any deal Astorino reaches, since last month they've met with four companies who answered a request for proposals Astorino released two years ago to redevelop the park, including Sustainable Playland, the winner of that competition.

 

QUESTIONS REMAIN

 

Additionally, questions remain over how Sustainable Playland or another company will renovate Playland while the county also needs to repair around $12 million in damages to the park from Hurricane Sandy.

 

And it's not clear how Sustainable Playland would coexist with the Westchester Children's Museum which will be leasing a former bathhouse on the property. Astorino vetoed the lease to the museum, but Democrats and Republicans on the board overrode his veto unanimously.

 

Even Sustainable Playland spokesman Geoffrey Thompson admitted that the nonprofit and county officials had a lot of work to do before they finalized an agreement. "You can't deny the obvious," he said. "There are a lot of issues in play here."

 

But he added that both parties were committed to conclude a deal for the sake of Playland, which is expected to lose $1.6 million this year. "With each month that slips by, you lose time for being able to set up for the 2013 season," Thompson said.

 

Founded by Westchester County residents, Sustainable Playland would invest $33.5 million in the park via a handful of subcontractors who would manage different components of the park -- amusement rides, restaurants and other attractions.

 

Democrats have raised questions about where the nonprofit would find financing. The group also was embarrassed in October when its president, Dhruv Narain, stepped down, after news reports that he owed around $233,000 in property taxes to the City of Rye.

 

Astorino, meanwhile, is ignoring the board's proceedings. The county executive claimed the management agreement he's pursuing with the nonprofit would be legally binding. "This process is over," said Ned McCormack, the county executive's communications director. "We have a winner here."

 

The chairwoman of the committee that's been holding the hearings with redevelopers, Legis. Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), said she couldn't comment on the county's contract with Sustainable Playland before it's finalized. But she said the board couldn't be overlooked.

 

"There has to be a philosophical discussion, I think, between the Legislature and the administration about what's the best option going forward," said Borgia. "We are going to have to come to some meeting of the minds."

 

The board has also met with Standard Amusements, which would invest $25 million in the park, as well as Central Amusements, whose representatives last week said they would spend $26.4 million on new rides and refurbishments.

 

But those meetings might have been for naught.

 

The county and Sustainable Playland are already working on coordinating federal funding to repair the damage from superstorm Sandy to the boardwalk and various buildings, McCormack said. "When we build this, we'll build it better and more equipped for the future," he said. "That's just common sense."

 

They are also close to determining whether they should keep the park's north boardwalk, which was destroyed in the storm, or not rebuild it.

 

Thompson said Sustainable Playland and the children's museum were also having fruitful talks about working with each other. "We're now viewing the Children's Museum as part of what is going to be at Playland," he said. "It's not something we're opposed to."

 

Sustainable Playland is now considering where to begin its overhaul, Thompson said. If large-scale construction proves impossible before the park opens in May, the nonprofit could at least landscape near the park's entrance with an eye to restoring its early 20th century grandeur, he said.

 

"We could start doing other work, extensive planting, beautification to bring it back to the way it was in the 1920s," he said.

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The saga may be over, Standard Amusement is allowed to run Playland https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/12/18/playland-standard-amusements/ Exclusive: Westchester County Executive Agrees To Tu

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That would be a huge deal if Legoland Development could step in.

 

I would say so. Legoland in the New York area would likely be very successful. Playland has a lot of history so I would hope they are careful not to destroy that.

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From what I've seen, Legoland Florida did a pretty good job preserving the gardens area of Cypress right? They seem like a company that acknowledges the history of what they purchase and enhance things around it with their park theme.

 

It's funny how huge of a difference the money amount is between Lego and the other offer. To me it seems like a no-brainer, though I don't know any of the politics behind it all. Would be awesome to see Legoland New York though.

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^^ One big issue is if a private company will be allowed to run a publicly owned park.

 

^ The problem for the traditionalists will be that Legoland would not be able to preserve many of the historic rides.

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A Legoland NYC!?!?!? If this doesn't get approved New York is dumb. Seriously, there is only good that will come from this and I can't imagine this won't instantly become the busiest Legoland in the world.

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A Legoland NYC!?!?!? If this doesn't get approved New York is dumb. Seriously, there is only good that will come from this and I can't imagine this won't instantly become the busiest Legoland in the world.

 

Totally agree. I think this would be the busiest one ever!

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Very on the fence with this idea. On the one hand, I love the old Rye Playland art deco look and feel. On the other hand, it's losing money hand over fist; it can't survive in the form it's in now. Adapt or die. And if some corporate entity has to take the reins, the Lego folks would certainly do things better here than anyone else who seems interested. And you KNOW they'd do something awesome with the Dragon coaster.

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Sounds great as long Legoland does a good job preserving some of the attractions (I DO NOT want to see the Derby Race Carousel change too much) although I am not afraid as they did a pretty good job preserving the Cyprus Gardens in Legoland Florida.

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I'm like this idea. As long as the Derby Racer, the Whip and the Tiki Bar remain untouched I think it would be great. Ye Olde Mill can be transformed pretty easily into a lego theme and the Dragon Coaster and Wild Mouse are already family style coasters so they would fit right in with Legoland. The best part of this plan is that Superflight is probably on the chopping block and I HATE that ride.

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Rye Playland turning into Legoland New York sounds fantastic. I think that if this becomes true, that most of the coasters and old rides will remain as Legoland did a good job transforming Cypress Gardens. Another good thing is if this becomes LLNY, then Super Flight will leave due to it being an adult coaster. So, I will be happy about one less Volare.

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Cypress Gardens and Rye Playland are completely different entities and preserving Rye Playland presents so many more challenges. Legoland did a great job preserving the Gardens part of Cypress Gardens as was prescribed when they took over control of the park.

 

The portions of Rye Playland that people will want preserved are classic rides and the architecture. The footprint or Rye Playland is to small for much of the architecture in the existing "rides" area to remain. Also, I do not think it will be easy to preserve all the classic rides and "Legofy" them. I could see the Derby Racer and Old Mill convertd, but the rest of the dark rides would be gone.

 

I'd love to see it happen if it is the best way to sustain the future of the park.

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Cypress Gardens and Rye Playland are completely different entities and preserving Rye Playland presents so many more challenges. Legoland did a great job preserving the Gardens part of Cypress Gardens as was prescribed when they took over control of the park.

 

The portions of Rye Playland that people will want preserved are classic rides and the architecture. The footprint or Rye Playland is to small for much of the architecture in the existing "rides" area to remain. Also, I do not think it will be easy to preserve all the classic rides and "Legofy" them. I could see the Derby Racer and Old Mill convertd, but the rest of the dark rides would be gone.

 

I'd love to see it happen if it is the best way to sustain the future of the park.

 

I completely agree with all this. I really can't see much remaining after the transformation including Dragon Coaster since when they redid Cypress they deemed Starliner out of their targeted age demographic and I can see the same thing here and them getting rid of it. But I could see them trying to keep some of the classics but while drastically changing them such as turning down the speed of Derby Racer and the whip.

 

It will be interesting to see what they do with the boardwalk though as when I was there a few years ago it was very depressing and felt run down.

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Cypress Gardens and Rye Playland are completely different entities and preserving Rye Playland presents so many more challenges. Legoland did a great job preserving the Gardens part of Cypress Gardens as was prescribed when they took over control of the park.

 

The portions of Rye Playland that people will want preserved are classic rides and the architecture. The footprint or Rye Playland is to small for much of the architecture in the existing "rides" area to remain. Also, I do not think it will be easy to preserve all the classic rides and "Legofy" them. I could see the Derby Racer and Old Mill convertd, but the rest of the dark rides would be gone.

 

I'd love to see it happen if it is the best way to sustain the future of the park.

 

I completely agree with all this. I really can't see much remaining after the transformation including Dragon Coaster since when they redid Cypress they deemed Starliner out of their targeted age demographic and I can see the same thing here and them getting rid of it. But I could see them trying to keep some of the classics but while drastically changing them such as turning down the speed of Derby Racer and the whip.

 

It will be interesting to see what they do with the boardwalk though as when I was there a few years ago it was very depressing and felt run down.

 

The Dragon Coaster is the perfect coaster for a Legoland park. The ride is a forceless family coaster ever since they added the Morgan Trains (I'm not being a whiny enthusiast, it's really forceless and kids love it). As far as the Derby Racer and the Whip; the locals would never let them touch those rides and I don't think they would. Besides those rides...have at it. Many of the other rides are portable anyway.

 

PS: The Boardwalk was destroyed by Sandy so it will be all new anyway.

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Cypress Gardens and Rye Playland are completely different entities and preserving Rye Playland presents so many more challenges. Legoland did a great job preserving the Gardens part of Cypress Gardens as was prescribed when they took over control of the park.

 

The portions of Rye Playland that people will want preserved are classic rides and the architecture. The footprint or Rye Playland is to small for much of the architecture in the existing "rides" area to remain. Also, I do not think it will be easy to preserve all the classic rides and "Legofy" them. I could see the Derby Racer and Old Mill convertd, but the rest of the dark rides would be gone.

 

I'd love to see it happen if it is the best way to sustain the future of the park.

 

I completely agree with all this. I really can't see much remaining after the transformation including Dragon Coaster since when they redid Cypress they deemed Starliner out of their targeted age demographic and I can see the same thing here and them getting rid of it. But I could see them trying to keep some of the classics but while drastically changing them such as turning down the speed of Derby Racer and the whip.

 

It will be interesting to see what they do with the boardwalk though as when I was there a few years ago it was very depressing and felt run down.

 

The Dragon Coaster is the perfect coaster for a Legoland park. The ride is a forceless family coaster ever since they added the Morgan Trains (I'm not being a whiny enthusiast, it's really forceless and kids love it). As far as the Derby Racer and the Whip; the locals would never let them touch those rides and I don't think they would. Besides those rides...have at it. Many of the other rides are portable anyway.

 

PS: The Boardwalk was destroyed by Sandy so it will be all new anyway.

 

I can see Dragon Coaster easily converted into the Dragon, they can just re-do the tunnel, re-theme it to medieval times, and put a new color scheme on it.

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I don't want to lose out on the classic rides the way they're run now. In my perfect world, the Dragon Coaster, Derby Racer, Whip, three dark rides, carousel, and bumper cars would stay. Heck, I love the carny ride selection too, but those can go. That said, this is still a very interesting (and surprising) proposal, and would definitely bring me back to see the changes. It's just too bad that a Lego Derby Racer and Lego Whip would probably not try to kill you.

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  • 1 month later...

http://whiteplains.dailyvoice.com/politics/county-evaluates-four-proposals-playland-renovation

 

Playland Amusement Park in Rye is one step closer to revitalization as the Westchester County Board of Legislators continues to consider proposals.

 

The board evaluated the top four proposals for the reinvention of Playland this week and is expected to receive more information from Sustainable Playland Inc., the developer endorsed by County Executive Rob Astorino in the fall.

 

“We have already generated a lot of questions and discussion about the proposals for Playland, which will serve as a good framework for our analysis of each presentation,” Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), chair of the legislature's Government Operations Committee, said in a news release. “Now, we have to boil it all down to a committee consensus on the pros and cons of each proposal, and make a decision that will be right for Westchester.”

 

The board is focusing on the economic, recreational and environmental impact each vision of the park’s future will have on all of Westchester.

 

The first proposal, by Sustainable Playland, is for a $34 million project. Main institutions of the historic amusement park would remain, including the Dragon Coaster, boardwalk and Kiddyland. New elements would be added including an “Aqua Zone” mini-water park and beach attractions, outdoor ball fields and an outdoor field house, renovations to the indoor ice rink and a new outdoor ice rink for the winter, new restaurants, enhanced access to the Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary, an indoor multiuse facility for rental, and a Great Lawn with views of the Long Island Sound.

 

Under the plan, general admission to Playland and the Great Lawn would be free. Attractions throughout the park would be grouped into zones like amusement, water, beach and fields and would be pay-as-you-go.

 

The second proposal, by Standard Amusements LLC, is to create a $25 million New Playland. The park would include a face-lift consistent with its National Historic Landmark status, namely improved food operations, new games to cultivate intergenerational shared experiences, restored and added rides plus water-themed attractions and more live entertainment. In addition, the proposal includes four new sports fields and a community lawn free for use.

 

The third proposal by Central Amusements International calls for a capital investment of $26.4 million. The plan includes revamping of rides, new rides, an interactive water playground, multilevel adventure-style mini golf, a children’s entertainment center to complement the children’s museum and a summer camp. The focus would be on preservation of historic rides, restoration of historic structures and infrastructure improvements.

 

The last proposal is from The Paidia Co., a private Louisiana-based company that operates amusement parks and reinvented Cypress Gardens in Florida as Legoland Florida. Its proposal calls for a $150 million investment – with $100 million for construction and improvements.

 

The Board of Legislators' Government Operations Committee is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Michaelian Office Building, 148 Martine Ave., Eighth Floor, in White Plains.

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Sustainable Playland seems stupid to me. Their plan is basically to take out all of the rides on the shore side of the park except for the Carousel, add some tennis courts and athletic fields and then force local businesses to pay a fee for "common maintenance". They already do... they're called taxes. They also want to have a partnership between the public and private sector so basically the government will still be involved money, only they'll lose more money because there won't be as many rides so there will be less of a draw (they're not replacing the rides with anything, just a lawn which they call "public event space").

 

They already have concerts at the park every year and since the new concert area is just a big lawn, it's not like it's the kind of facility that will bring in bigger names. I'm not sure what other events they have in mind but concerts are really the only event I can think of that would bring in any significant number of people. Trade shows and conventions end up at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, so if they plan to add more of them they'll just take money from another county owned, taxpayer funded business and we'll be no better off than we are now. They're also keeping that stupid ice arena which loses about 3 million dollars a year and amounts for roughly half of the parks financial losses.

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