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Board of Legislators Pass Playland Management Agreement

Rye Playland

On Monday, the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) passed legislation which authorized the County Executive to enter into a 15 year Playland Management Agreement (PMA) with Standard Amusements, LLC (Standard) to operate Playland Amusement Park. The PMA passed unanimously.

With the passage of the agreement, Standard Amusements will now begin co-managing Playland with the County for the remainder of the 2015 season. Following the co-management period, Standard has until October 31, 2015 to finalize the deal.

The terms of the PMA call for the County to receive an upfront payment from Standard Amusements of $2.25 million. Standard is then required to make an additional $22.5 million in capital improvements to the park in the next five years. Standard has indicated that they plan to make those investments in the first three years of the agreement. After Standard has recouped its initial investment, the county would share in 7.5% of the profit from Playland operations. Additionally, Standard will pay the County an annual $300,000 management fee that increases by approximately 2% each year.

The BOL performed its review and discussion process through two committees, The Labor, Parks, Planning and Housing Committee and the Budget and Appropriations Committee. In order to accommodate the co-management period for the 2015 season, the BOL completed a very comprehensive review process in just 60 days.

During the review and discussion process, Legislators sought clarifications and commitments from Standard and the Astorino Administration on certain aspects of the plan. The BOL, the County Executive and Standard signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which was passed as a resolution to memorialize those negotiated commitments. Among the issues addressed in the MOU are job security for Playland employees, financial and attendance reporting to the BOL from Standard, prioritization of the county’s capital project plans for Playland and a declaration that Standard would not undertake the construction of athletic fields. Following the vote, BOL Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D) Somers said, “After an historic 87 year run of creating wonderful experiences and memories for generations of Westchester families, this vote puts Playland on firm footing to carry on for another 87 years in that mission. It has been almost five years since County Executive Astorino announced his intentions to find a private partner to operate the amusement park and it has indeed been a roller-coaster ride since then. I thank my colleagues on the Board for their bipartisan cooperation and hard work in committee and I thank County Executive Astorino for his administration’s hard work and partnership in bringing about the last, best option for a major investment of financial capital and industry expertise in Playland.” Kaplowitz added. “This review process has been absolutely transparent and has fully engaged the public along the way. While we have finished this important step in the review process, the Board will continue its diligent oversight of Playland throughout the course of the agreement.”

Following the vote, County Executive Rob Astorino said, “I want to thank Chairman Kaplowitz for his leadership on moving this forward with the necessary speed and due diligence,” Astorino added, “This deal meets our three goals for preserving Playland by reversing the losses for taxpayers, putting the park in the hands of a top-flight operator, and revitalizing Playland as a must-visit destination for families for years to come.”

Legislator Sheila Marcotte (R) Eastchester is Chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, one of the primary committees to undertake the legislative review process, “Playland is a wonderful asset for Westchester County and I applaud County Executive Astorino and BOL Chairman Mike Kaplowitz for their bipartisan leadership on this agreement. While an amusement park is a terrific thing to have in our community, Playland has been a $3-$4 million drag on the county tax levy for years and that’s just not sustainable. We have practiced our due diligence in the committee process and I am confident that the Standard Amusements deal will be the transformative opportunity, the financial ‘shot in the arm’ that Playland desperately needs.”

Minority Leader, Legislator John Testa (R) Peekskill said, “This public-private partnership agreement is our last and best opportunity to ensure a positive future for Playland. Having expert operators who will invest in upgrades and improvements to the park will lessen the burden on county taxpayers while preserving this important county asset.”





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