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Playland Amusement Park Gets New Private Manager With County Vote

Nicholas Singer, a graduate of Harrison High School, is a partner and co-founder of Standard Amusements, which has been selected to manage the county-owned Playland Park by a 13-4 vote of the Westchester Board of Legislators on Monday night. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Rye Playland on a stormy day earlier this month. Westchester County's Board of Legislators gave its unanimous approval to grant Standard Amusements another month on its option agreement to finalize its contract to renovate and manage the park. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - -Westchester's Board of Legislators voted 13-4 on Monday night to turn over management of county-owned Playland Park to Standard Amusements led by Harrison native Nicholas Singer.

The vote concludes a lengthy search for a new manager to take over day-to-day operations of the popular amusement park. The approval means Standard Amusements will make a $30 million private investment for the right to operate the historic park in Rye for 30 years.

“We started with a blank piece of paper for how to save Playland six years ago,” Astorino said. “Now we are taking a historic step forward. The capital, the operator and the vision are in place to protect both taxpayers and the Dragon Coaster for years to come.”

Astorino called the process to save Playland was "a team effort," and thanked Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz of Somers for keeping the deal on track, the Board of Legislators and Singer for his patience and persistence.

Voting against the latest agreement on Monday were Democratic Legislators: Catherine Parker of Rye, Majority Leader Catherine Borgia of Ossining Alfreda Williams of Greenburgh and Ken Jenkins of Yonkers. However, the four legislators voted in favor of separate bond acts which authorized the largest investment in Playland since it was built.

Parker, who represents the Sound Shore communities including Playland, said, “I believe this deal has gone backwards from the one that was crafted previously. We are spending more money than we were in the last deal and the private operator is reaping more of the benefits of our investment than they were in the last deal."

The county, which retains ownership, is expected to contribute $32 million toward revitalization of Playland's Art Deco infrastructure through projects including repaving the parking lot and restoring some historical rides.

Singer said the deal is designed to preserve the special character of Playland that he remembers as a child.

Under the original agreement, approved 17-0 by the Board of Legislators in June 2015, Standard Amusements was to make an initial investment of $2.25 million, -- $500,000 of which the county received in a non-refundable payment and then invest $22.75 million within five years into renovating and upgrading the amusement park.

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