The Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously approved two bonds to fund critical repairs at Playland in Rye on Monday night.
The which total $12.5 million, will support separate projects to repair Playland Ice Casino, the amusement park’s ice rink, and to repair the boardwalk, which was severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Earlier this month, County Parks Commissioner Kathleen O’Connor told lawmakers she hopes to have Ice Casino repairs completed by September, in order to salvage the 2013 season and the boardwalk repaired by May.
A $7,575,000 bond act will be used to repair the boardwalk, which Sandy’s high winds and storm surge caused to buckle, detach and heave. The second bond act of $4,925,000 will be used to rebuild the Ice Casino, which needs new roofing, boilers and structural work. The rink suffered extensive damage when Sandy’s winds ripped open the structure’s doors and a 15-foot storm surge brought several feet of water into the basement, which damaged the boilers and equipment there.
“I am pleased that my colleagues on the Board of Legislators wholeheartedly agreed that these two bond acts deserved close attention and a quick approval so these repairs can be completed and Playland can be opened on time for the 2013 season, with the Ice Casino be made available to residents as soon as possible,” said Legislator Judy Myers (D-Larchmont), the BOL’s Budget & Appropriations Committee Chair in a press release from the BOL.
A number of the BOL members are expected to visit Playland this week and see the storm damage.
“Playland is a major attraction in Westchester, and it is also provides substantial revenue for the county and jobs for our youth,” said Government Operations Committee, Chair Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) in the release. “Getting things back to normal the park needs to be a priority, and I’m looking forward to regular progress reports on the repairs being done there.”
While the county works to clean up Playland, an asset management contract is being prepared for the county to turn management of the park over to Sustainable Playland Inc., a non-profit group chosen by County Executive Rob Astorino. SPI plans to spend $34 million revamping Playland, adding sports fields and other amenities and making changes to the amusement park.
The approved bonds and repairs are not part of any deal with SPI as the county is still the owner and proprietor of the park, according to the County's Communications Director Ned McCormack.