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Parker Says She’s Secured Infrastructure Goodies for Rye Playland

Rye resident and Westchester pol Catherine Parker is saying she has extracted a commitment from the Astorino people for the county itself to work on certain infrastructure projects at Playland in addition to what Standard Amusements would do under its proposed contract.

The PR on this is just below and came without the list of the aforementioned projects or any detail on how or who is paying for the work. MyRye.com has asked for the particulars. We'll let you know when and what we hear back…

Here you go:

Legislator Parker Successfully Holds Astorino Administration Accountable for Playland Capital Projects

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) As the suggested deadline for a vote on the proposed management agreement for Playland nears, Legislators Catherine Parker and MaryJane Shimsky were able to successfully obtain a commitment from the County to undertake certain infrastructure projects at Playland in addition to those to be advanced by Standard Amusements. The most current five year capital plan for Playland that included major overhauls such as the Ice Casino, Boardwalk, Colonnades and other structures throughout the park, but up until this point, it remained unclear how the County’s investment in the park would fit in with a new Playland management arrangement. During today’s meeting of the Labor, Parks, Planning and Housing Committee, the Deputy County Executive agreed to updating this list, memorializing it in contract and accomplishing these projects within the first five years of a new management agreement.

“A Public-Private Partnership like this typically involves commitments of resources from both parties involved. Until today, we were unsure of the County’s level of commitment to augmenting the private vendor’s efforts,” Legislator Catherine Parker stated. “We have a real opportunity to make tremendous improvements at Playland while still keeping its historical character with this commitment. This is a major win for Westchester taxpayers as Playland becomes an even more valuable asset for the County.”

Legislator MaryJane Shimsky, who took over today spearheading this review upon Legislator Peter Harckham’s departure added, “We have been pushing for accountability measures on many infrastructure projects throughout the County, with at best mixed success. I believe that this commitment will help insure that Playland will remain in good repair for decades to come.”

Including this commitment within the Playland Management Agreement, and not attaching set dollar figures to the projects from the previously adopted capital plan, could save taxpayers millions of dollars. By embedding this plan, with projects listed by priority, there will be a clear path to revitalizing one of the County’s top assets. The Board of Legislators is slated to vote on the proposed Playland Management agreement on June 15th.

  1. I was at that meeting sitting next to Joe Porter yesterday and we were both incredulous at how expertly Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett AVOIDED making any commitment whatsoever on the part of the County to follow through on any of the list of Capital Projects that have been outstanding at Playland for years. There was also detailed discussion with the County Attorney at the table about how THEY CANNOT MAKE ANY CHANGES TO THE CONTRACT in any timely manner because of complications with needing Standard’s Attorneys to then need to review it and okay it. In other words: because of the arbitrary deadline imposed on this process by the County Executive, we don’t have TIME to do it the right way. As a result, it appears that any “tweaks” to this plan (and there need to be MANY, most of which I suspect will not get done) have to be implemented through a “Memorandum Of Understanding” (MOU). Even as much as Parker and Shimsky pounded Plunkett yesterday, he did not give an inch in that meeting on citing anything specific on the list of things that need to be done and he remained non-committal in agreeing to provide any language. Joe and I were both amazed at what we were watching. So, unless they worked it out later in the day and actually DID get a document in writing from him, I’m calling “foul” on this characterization of what actually happened yesterday. If they have that document I hope they make it available asap on the County web site, and I have to wonder just how much “stick” an MOU has vs actual legal re-wording of the contract itself. If this is true, that would be one good thing that’s been resolved in all the unanswered questions regarding this contract, but I did not witness anything in that meeting yesterday that would lead me to say Plunkett agreed to ANYTHING before he got up and left. And while that’s all well and good and I will be VERY happy if the County is to be believed and finally lives up to its responsibility to take care of that Park, it brings us to this question: If the County is willing to pay for it NOW, why weren’t they willing to ever move ahead with these projects before? And further, how do you explain to Taxpayers that you’ve been prompted to finally do these projects – that the County could have done and paid for at anytime in the past since they made the “list” – NOW because you have a private operator coming in…yet we still have to pay for them all and after we’ve invested around double what the private operator does to make a better park for everyone, we will watch them recoup all their initial investment and then keep 92.5% of any profits to be made, while we recoup none of our far more substantial investment and get a paltry $300k a year rent from them (Playland pulled in well over that on Memorial Day weekend) and a questionable 7.5% profit share at some undetermined point down the road? I’m going with “Bring Back the Playland Commission” and keep all the money IN the County and FOR the County. I wanted to be happy about Standard coming in but this is a raw deal for taxpayers. The BOL is trying to sugar coat it before they vote for it. It’s a done deal and people should be screaming.


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