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Westchester Legislators Vet Parties Interested In Running Playland

Valerio Ferrari (center) talks about Central Amusements International's plan for Playland. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Representatives from Standard Amusements pitch their plan for Playland. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
The Standard Amusement plan includes a new water slide and water park area. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Valerio Ferrari talked about adding two rides to Playland that would make it a must-see attraction, including a pendulum swing that would be 10 feet taller than the highest in the world. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – After some speculation and urging from legislators, a tandem effort is out of the question for two operators vying for the chance to run Rye Playland.

Standard Amusements and Central Amusements International both pitched their individual plans to a committee of the Westchester County Board of Legislators on Thursday. When asked if the two companies could work together to run the park, CAI’s President and CEO Valerio Ferrari simply said, “No.”

When asked if a second time about a potential partnership, he said, “We did have some conversation with Standard about possibilities to work together. We tried, but it didn’t work out.”

The committee met with the two companies to do its due diligence in an effort to get an operator in the park for the start of the 2015 season. It had reviewed a proposal by Sustainable Playland Inc., which was scrapped in June because of waning support among legislators. County Executive Rob Astorino later scrapped the asset management deal it had made with SPI in 2013.

The BOL cannot make an operating agreement without the County Executive’s office, which plans to wait for a report analyzing Playland and how best to proceed. Architect Dan Biederman was hired for $100,000 to create the report, which will be issued in November.

“Our view is the county executive and Mr. Biederman need to get somebody on board now so that in 2015 we have a new operator whose making the capital investments in the park,” said Legislator Peter Harckham (D – North Salem), chair of the BOL Labors, Parks, Planning and Housing Committee.

BOL Chair Michael Kaplowitz said they will have to work with Astorino and vice versa to get a new operator running Playland for the 2015 season.

Both Standard and CAI said Thursday they plan to invest around $25 million in capital improvements at the park and make it a year-round attraction. Both cited adding new rides and high-end restaurants, but Ferrari added that holiday attractions for Halloween and Christmas and more concerts using the existing stage could be another way to do it.

Standard Amusements Managing Director of Development Nicholas Singer said they project annual attendance eventually to rise from 325,000 to 1 million. He said the breakeven point would be around $850,000 to $900,000. Whereas, Ferrari said CAI’s plan could eventually increase attendance to 700,000 annually, but would be profitable at that level by improving line flow and keeping people moving through the park and buying more tickets and food.

The BOL committee has yet to schedule further meeting with either Standard or CAI.

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