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Monday, December 5, 2022
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Playland RFP: Knock It Down, Get Rid of the Park – The Roller Coaster Ride Begins

Westchester County has released the RFP for "Reinventing Playland Park for the 21st Century". The RFP starts with a Japanese proverb (true) and states "bold and visionary ideas are welcome" and "entrepreneurial imagination is encouraged"

The RFP sets out various rules for the RFP responses and is a trove of information about Playland. It also seems to consider a future where the amusement park is completely removed and others where the designation of parkland is rescinded for a new, alternate use:

  • After mentioning that seven rides and "several" buildings are National Historic Landmarks, the RFP goes on to say (Infrastructure, page 7) "Nothing herein shall be construed as a prohibition against proposals that seek to demolish existing infrastructure and replace it with new infrastructure."
  • A roll-back of parkland protections, called "parkland alienation", is considered in the RFP under "Additional Considerations" (page 11): "Playland is dedicated parkland pursuant to New York State Law. The Courts in New York have consistently held that dedicated parkland is impressed with a public trust. Generally, once a park is created, it can only be used for park purposes, and additionally, it cannot be alienated without the approval of the New York State Legislature. Parkland alienation occurs when a municipality wishes to sell, lease or discontinue parkland. If the successful proposal involves an alienation of parkland at Playland Park, or a portion thereof, the County would pursue approval by the New York State Legislature of the required alienation."
  • The proposed Westchester Children's Museum planned for the Playland Bathhouses (County Exec Rob Astorino has refused to sign the lease pending the outcome of the RFP) is given cursory attention (page 13): "Respondents may or may not choose to incorporate the potential Children’s Museum into their proposal or may propose to develop a different use for the Bathhouse."

There are many other gems in the RFP and it makes for a good read. MyRye.com will be asking our readers, public officials and others with a vested interest in the outcome of Playland to share their point of view.

What would you do with Playland? Contact MyRye.com or leave a comment below.

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