Westchester Legislator Says Scrap Sustainable Playland Contract

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Westchester County Legislator Ken Jenkins (left), a Democrat, called on the county administration to invalidate its contract with Sustainable Playland, Inc.
Westchester County Legislator Ken Jenkins (left), a Democrat, called on the county administration to invalidate its contract with Sustainable Playland, Inc. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

RYE, N.Y. – Progress on the Playland Improvement Plan has stalled as the designated park manager, Sustainable Playland, Inc. (SPI), asks for clearer direction from the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL).

While SPI has left the table until it gets the desired direction, its has not withdrawn from the review process. However, Legislator Ken Jenkins (D – Yonkers) called on County Executive Rob Astorino’s administration Tuesday to invalidate the contract with SPI.

“Since 2010, the Board of Legislators has been clear that it has the final say over Playland,” he said in a statement. “To now feign surprise and frustration over a process that has been clearly articulated is astounding."

SPI said in a statement that they have “taken a step back” to let Westchester County resolves outstanding issues with the City of Rye and a lawsuit filed by Jenkins, and come up with a shared vision for Playland’s future.

“This lack of a cohesive overall county view of what Playland should be has left SPI and its operators at a loss as to where to turn next,” SPI President Kim Morque said in a letter to Astorino and the BOL April 9.

The City of Rye has asked to be the lead agency on the environmental review of SPI’s proposal, which would expand Playland to a year-round attraction with new facilities. Those include an 82,500-square-foot Field House in the parking lot, which has been reduced from 95,000 square feet. It has been received unfavorably by some.

“SPI believes our plan is the right approach for securing Playland’s future,” Geoff Thompson, spokesman for SPI, said in a statement.

The review of SPI’s Playland Improvement Plan began in March, and questions and concerns have been brought up about topics including the target attendance size. Morgue said in her letter that one legislator wants to set the target at 700,000, while another wants more than one million.

“It’s not what we want. It’s what makes the numbers add up,” Legislator Peter Harckham (D – North Salem) said, adding that SPI should be prepared to answer their questions and that the process will not change. “They have to present certain revenue projections to us. Remember, a big part of this is tax relief in the form of SPI offsetting some of the bond costs.”

The Playland Improvement Plan was accepted by Astorino and sent to the BOL, which is reviewing it in committee before taking any action.

“Collectively both branches of government are going to need to have a discussion as to how long we’re going to wait,” Harckham said.

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Well said. When politicians who have no clue about anything and rely on the so called experts, we the taxpayers pay the price. Mr. Jenkins's arrogance with respect to his statement that the BOL has the final say is disturbing. A BOL that has Westchester taxpayers paying the highest taxes in the land, says mismanagement; fraud; and excessive power; etc.

Why is government running an amusement park? Isn't their incompetence at constitutional tasks enough entertainment for taxpayers?

I agree! A taxpayer funded "Amusement Park" is absurd. Turn it into a County Park sans amusement rides. Beach, Picnic Areas, Boat Launch Ice Ring and Camping Area. Reduce the size of the Parking Lots as they will no longer need to be as large. That way, It would be a great park for Westchester Residents without putting up with the buses from outside Westchester and all the problems they bring, like Lawsuits, Riots and us paying for frequent heavy police intervention. The County will save millions and we will have a park we can actually use.