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Playland Manager Gets 5-Month Extension On Option To Run, Renovate Park

Nicholas Singer, a graduate of Harrison High School, is a partner and co-founder of Standard Amusements, which has been given a five-month extension on finalizing its five-year agreement to manage the county-owned Playland. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
The perennially popular Playland Express train Westchester County announced on Monday that Standard Amusements has received a two-month extension to make its promised $25 million payment on a long-term management contract to operate the county park. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

RYE, N.Y. -- Recognizing more time is needed to complete the necessary "due diligence" Westchester County and Standard Amusements have agreed to a five-month extension of the option agreement for Standard Amusements to invest $25 million in Playland and start taking over management of the county-owned park in Rye next year, officials said on Monday.

The extension, which has the support of County Executive Rob Astorino, Westchester Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, and Nicholas Singer, a Harrison native and co-founder of Standard Amusements, extends the option period from Oct. 16 to March 31, 2016. Standard Amusements will pay the county $25,000 for the extension.

“If Standard Amusements wasn’t interested in investing in Playland, we wouldn’t have asked for the extension,” Singer said in a press statement. “To date we have committed $1.4 million to the revitalization effort. . . ."

Singer added, "Based on our review, which began in July, it’s likely that our investment would exceed $25 million. We simply need more time to conduct the due diligence necessary to ensure that our development and completion of the project will be successful.”

Astorino, in a press statement, said the extension was reasonable and understandable. Part of the need for the extension was to give Standard Amusements more time to understand the integration of its investment with the ongoing capital projects that the county will continue to undertake to fulfill its responsibilities as the owner of the park.

“One of the strengths of this deal is that it is a public-private partnership, but that also adds a layer of complexity that requires adequate time to be managed successfully,” Astorino said. “The goal is to save Playland for future generations and the extension means everyone remains focused on the goal.”

Kaplowitz said: “The Board of Legislators’ approval of the Playland management agreement required some very detailed explanations of how capital improvements would be made at the park and who would be responsible for them. I consider this request for an extension of the co-management period to be an indication that those complex issues are being addressed. After years of working on a plan that will literally save Playland, I think the addition of a few months to the transition process is reasonable and in fact prudent.”

Under the original agreement, approved 17-0 by the Board of Legislators in June, Standard Amusements was expected to make an initial investment of $2.25 million, -- $500,000 of which the county has received in a non-refundable payment and then invest $22.75 million within five years into renovating and upgrading the amusement park; while making annual payments to the county starting at $300,000 and escalating 2 percent annually.

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