The free ride is over.
Andy Spano is cutting off the $3 million annual taxpayer subsidy all you Rye Playland fun seekers have been enjoying. No longer will you be able to mosey into the park and pay for individual rides. Instead, under the new arrangement, Westchester residents will be charged$25 (non-residents will pay $30) for an all you can eat entrance and ride ticket.
No Tax Dollars for Playland
Spano proposal would save taxpayers $3 million next year
The amusement section of Playland Park will no longer be funded by tax dollars under a comprehensive new “pay one price” plan for the historic Rye park unveiled today by County Executive Andy Spano.
“Westchester property taxpayers will no longer subsidize the amusement park,” said Spano. “Instead, visitors to the amusement section of the park will pay all costs, both operational and capital. This will save our county property taxpayers about $3 million next year.”
He added, “Over the past several years, we have worked consistently to reduce the costs of the amusement area of Playland to our taxpayers. With this change, we will accomplish our goal to make the ride area a patron-paid-for park.”
In 2005, a card system (replacing tickets) was implemented so that revenues could be better monitored. In 2007 and 2008, the county changed its financial relationships with owners of the rides, buying some (rather than leasing) to generate more revenue to the county.
As a consequence, the amount of taxpayer subsidy to the amusement area of the park has gone down. It was $4.37 million in 2006; $3.49 million in 2007; estimated at $3.17 million in 2008.
Spano’s proposal would affect only the amusement section of the park.
There would be a one-price entrance fee of $25 for residents and $30 for non-residents that would allow for unlimited use of the rides all day. There would be a $5 reduction for both residents and non residents who come at twilight. The one-price fee for residents would also include miniature golf and entrance to the beach. Visitors from outside the county would have to pay extra for golf and beach entrance.
Non-riders entering the amusement section of the park to walk, watch the park’s entertainment or to chaperon others would pay a modest entrance fee of $3 for residents and $5 for non-residents. If they later want to go on a ride they can purchase a ride card at $1 a point.
As is the case now, there will be no charge for going to the Boardwalk, pier, fishing arcade, seaside walk, museum, Fountain Plaza, fireworks viewing, food court, lake boating, Read Sanctuary, boathouse, kayak launch, public picnic areas, Captain Hook’s Restaurant or the area by mini-golf. Skating fees will continue for the Ice Casino, although there will still be no entrance fee.
Under Spano’s plan, children who are under 36 inches tall will be allowed in free, irrespective of whether they are residents or non-residents. These youngsters must be accompanied on the Kiddyland rides by an older person who would have to pay.
In addition, parking fees will be reduced to $4 weekdays and $5 weekends. (Currently they are $5 on weekdays, $7 weekends and $10 on holidays.)
“People who spend many hours at the park on rides will save money with the new price structure,” Spano said.
Playland is the only amusement park in the nation owned by a county government. It presently has National Historic Landmark status. It dates back to 1923-25 when the then county Parks Commission acquired 313 acres of property along Long Island Sound that included two existing amusement areas.
Since 1928 when it opened, Playland has been the county park system’s most visited park, drawing nearly 900,000 visitors, depending on weather. Of this, about 65 percent come from outside the county. The park will remain under the control of the county’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, as a family-friendly park.
“We are not privatizing the park. We are saving tax dollars as we continue to make sure Playland is affordable and family-friendly,” said Spano.