Kaplowitz: Rye Playland's Future Is 'As Clear As Mud'

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RYE, N.Y. – Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D – Somers) wants to get moving on Rye Playland.

The County Executive’s office plans to wait for a study's recommendations on how best to make Playland a year-round attraction.

But Kaplowitz said the BOL’s parks committee is meeting Sept. 4 with two other companies – Standard Amusements and Central Amusements - to see if they can come up with a plan to run the amusement park either separately or together.

“One of the things we're trying to do is make sure that whatever is proposed is vetted and is real and works out for the people,” Kaplowitz said.

“And secondly, we'd like to get it up and running for 2015, and kicking the can down the road four months begins to endanger the 2015 season.

“We are not going to simply sit by and let this asset not be maximized,” he said.

Since the BOL scrapped Sustainable Playland as the proposective park operator, the county has not yet replaced it.

Instead, it hired architect Dan Biederman, known for his work on Bryant Park, to look for ways to increase revenues, control costs and improve the visitor experience while expanding Playland from a 90-day amusement park to a year-round attraction.

“He has a blank piece of paper to look at the strategic and tactical opportunities in front of us,” said Ned McCormack, communications director for the County Executive's office.

Reflecting on his first six months as chairman, Kaplowitz said the BOL’s review process revealed the cracks in Sustainable Playland’s plan and that it just wasn’t meant to be.

“If they couldn't stand the questions here, how were they going to run a roller coaster and an amusement park for $14 million a year and all the other operations with hundreds of employees?” he asked.

“They just didn't have the roots that the County Executive thought they had.”

Looking ahead, the county is finalizing a 10-year contract with a 10-year renewal option with American Skating to operate the Ice Casino.

Within the contract's first 18 months, American Skating plans to make $640,000 to refurbish and modernize the interior.

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Comments (3)

It needs to be closed. End of story. No reason for tax payers to fund a business.

Outdoor water Park and an indoor water park. Question answered.
Take a ride up to Lake George and visit the old amusement park that was taken over by 6 flags.They built an indoor water park across the street, and a huge water park behind the original park. The strip of beach/land that is not used north of playland is a perfect spot for a water park...

I have a proposal for Rye Playland that involves making it a Mecca for youth sports. A multisport facility for the benefit of the County's youth. A public private partnership in which the profit motive in youth sports is removed. With the right management promotion and design, it could be a yr round attraction for youth sports and host tournaments, leagues and events from LL Baseball and softball basketball soccer and lacrosse. Maybe even become a sister facility to the huge national hockey facility being built at the Kingsbridge armory. A facility to benefit all of the county's youth.