After bitter battles between Westchester County and private operator Standard Amusements, the two parties announced late Friday they have agreed to a new, revised 30 year operating agreement.
The agreement remains subject to the approval of the Board of Legislators and the bankruptcy court presiding over Standard Amusements’ bankruptcy proceedings. “We’re at a point now where cooperation – cooperative effort together – is the best way to protect the interests of the taxpayers and the users of the park,” Rye guy and County boss George Latimer told WCBS-TV. Latimer lives in Rye, adjacent to the park.
The development represents a stunning turn. Park operations were a focus of the political battles between Latimer and then County Executive Rob Astorino, and larger battles between County Democrats and Republicans.
The County and Standard Amusements released a joint statement late Friday with further details:
Westchester County and Standard Amusements Announce Agreement on Rye Playland
Today, Westchester County and Standard Amusements welcomed a new future for Rye Playland. The parties have agreed to enter into a new Management Agreement under which Standard Amusements will manage and operate Playland Park beginning with the 2022 season.
The new agreement includes a number of significant changes that are the result of months of productive discussions between the County and Standard Amusements. Under the terms of the new agreement:
- Increased Overall Commitment from Standard Amusements:
- New investment of $35 million
- Investment will go to new rides, games, and other improvements to enhance the guest experience
- Improved Economics for the County:
- Management fee increases 33% and begins in the first season
- Revenue share replaces delayed profit participation
- Additional County Control:
- Performance tests that hold Standard Amusements accountable
- Extensive review and oversight preserves Playland’s special historical status as a public asset
The new agreement is subject to approval by the Board of Legislators, the Board of Acquisition and Contract, and the Bankruptcy Court presiding over Standard Amusements’ bankruptcy proceedings, and replaces the current agreement negotiated by the former County Executive in 2015 and 2016.
Both parties called the new agreement a major improvement from the current agreement and a positive step for the future of Playland.
Westchester County Government Director of Operations Joan McDonald said, “This new agreement offers significant improvements and commitments to Playland. The additional investment that Standard Amusements is making, combined with the significant capital projects the County is undertaking, are together the most important investments in Playland in many years. We are ready to move forward and look ahead to a productive partnership with Standard Amusements.”
“We are thrilled to have reached an agreement with Westchester County and look forward to working closely together in the coming years to ensure that Playland thrives,” said Nicholas Singer, Founder and Principal of Standard Amusements. “Playland was a magical part of my childhood while growing up in Westchester, and I’m committed to ensuring that the iconic park continues to benefit County residents and visitors of all ages over the long term.”
County Executive George Latimer said, “The true beneficiaries of the new agreement will be the thousands of children in this County who hold Playland as a place of joy and freedom in their hearts. Playland is a gem of this County, and this region, and with a greatly improved agreement in place, the park will be standing for decades to come for future children to enjoy.”
Westchester County will continue to operate Playland during the 2021 season while Standard Amusements prepares to take over operations for the 2022 season.
Watch the WCBS-TV report: