(Elizabeth Ganga at The Journal News has The Scoop)
April 15 2014
– 4:12 PM EDT
“After suspending its
participation in the county's review of Playland Park's future, the nonprofit
chosen to run the park for Westchester County has laid new conditions on
returning to the process, making it decidedly less likely that its vision for
the park will move forward.
Sustainable Playland sent a letter to County Executive Rob Astorino on April 9 asking for a clearer definition of what the county wants to see at Playland and saying it will not come back to the table until county officials come to consensus on what they want at the park.
"We're looking to not spend time and money pursing concepts that are not acceptable to the county," said Geoffrey Thompson, a spokesman for Sustainable.
Legislative leaders took the letter as an announcement by Sustainable that it was withdrawing completely from the county's review. Board Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, D-Somers, said it was "astonishing," in a statement.
"The County Executive chose SPI in the first place because of SPI's vision for Playland," he said. "The problem is not SPI's or the County's vision, the problem is SPI's inability or unwillingness to provide answers to the critical parking/traffic, environmental and financial concerns."
But Thompson said the letter simply asks for more direction so Sustainable can avoid going down dead ends. The first step is to set an attendance goal, the letter says. Plans for parking, a business model and a capital plan will follow. The county must also decide if it wants the controversial field house proposed for the parking lot.
Regardless of what happens with Sustainable's plans, the park will open May 10.
The request for a clear direction is complicated by the different perspectives within the Board of Legislators and between the board and Astorino.
Astorino chose Sustainable Playland to take over the management of the park, invest in the historic buildings, rides and public plazas and bring in new elements to make it a stronger draw. But the Board of Legislators has yet to approve Sustainable's plans. The board had been hoping to vote by May before the review was suspended April 1 because of questions over Rye's role in the review process.”
(Reach author Elizabeth Ganga at email@example.com or @eganga on Twitter)