As Sustainable Playland Inc.’s deadline to officially take over the management of Playland from the county draws nearer, Rye resident Deirdre Curran has been imploring her fellow community members to pay attention to the group’s Playland Improvement Plan (PIP) submitted to the county Board of Legislature for approval.
“People should be screaming about this,” Curran said of SPI’s plan to build a 95,000 square-foot Field Zone, that would include indoor sport courts and turf fields, as well as two outdoor turf fields.
Curran's outcry has caught the attention of some other residents, now also concerned about the SPI plan.
A new email distribution list has been created to share information about the project. Rye Resident and former councilman Mack Cunningham has been sending emails, although there is no indication of how many people are on the distribution list.
In a message to the Rye City Council earlier this month, Curran wrote:
I am calling on the Rye City Council and Rye City Government to do their jobs and provide community members with details about the Sustainable Playland plan and how it will directly affect community members living either with property abutting the amusement park or in the general vicinity of Playland.
On Monday, Oct. 21, Mayor Douglas French sent a city council update to residents mentioned the field house plan in a positive light, stating the facility is “much desired and needed by Westchester County residents.” Read his full update at the end of this article.
The same morning, Councilwoman Catherine Parker, who serves as the liason between the council and SPI, told Curran she has asked to add SPI’s Playland Improvement plan as an official agenda item for this Wednesday’s city council meeting.
“I do not have confirmation that a representative of SPI will be in attendance, but given that you have encouraged neighbors abutting Playland to attend, I think it would be good to make it an official agenda item so you don't have to wait until the off-agenda resident section. I have been unable to get a hold of Mayor French during the last week to approve, but expect that he has no objection,” Parker wrote in an email to Curran copied to the press and council members.
There is no indication the PIP has been added to the agenda as of Tuesday night.
Curran is mostly concerned about traffic, parking issues, noise and effect the plan may have on property values and quality of life.
She writes to the council: “Residents need to be made aware of EXACTLY what this plan entails, how long it will take to do, what to expect while it's under way and what the long term ramifications are going to be for local residents.”
In his emails sent from firstname.lastname@example.org, Cunningham wrote Tuesday: "if the Sports Field House and (2) artificial field projects proceed, and, not including the 1st row reserve parking spaces for Tiki Bar, there will be 910 car spaces for parking. Over 50% of the current parking capacity will be lost."
The PIP explains that the Field Zone would be located “as close to the FEMA “V” zone floodplain as permissible. The entrance to the indoor facility will be on the side of the building away from nearby residents, to minimize noise and traffic impact. Parking for all activities will be located on the east side of the indoor fields, effectively shielding neighbors from the loading or unloading participants and guests.
The outdoor fields will be located to maintain sight lines to the Long Island Sound from nearby homes.”
The PIP includes a timeline that shows construction starting by May 2014 but includes no further information on noise, traffic, environmental or safety concerns during construction and after completion.
A spokesperson for SPI acknowledged receipt but did not respond to Patch questions regarding SPI's expectations regarding the State Environmental Qualification Review process and approval they would need for the project or if any traffic and noise studies have been conducted. If the SPI Field Zone plan could not be approved under SEQR, they would not be able to build the project as proposed.
Curran and Cunningham are encouraging residents to attend the Rye City Council meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. to speak out against the plan.
Find the full PIP here and Field House plans on p. 42-48.
Mayor Douglas French’s Oct. 21 Update on PIP:
Improvement Plans Submitted for Playland for County Approval
Sustainable Playland, Inc has submitted the Playland Improvement Plan (PIP) for
approval by the County Board of Legislators. The plan seeks to balance the
amusement park and seasonal uses with new amenities, venues, and programs.
The investments will be in excess of $34 million over the term of the management agreement if all improvements are approved and completed as proposed. The first improvements can begin in 2014 with significant upgrades to the Amusement Zone, and Kiddyland specifically.
The PIP also focuses on the historic preservation and restoration of the National Landmark buildings, amusement rides, and landscape, while adding new rides and venues to the amusement park area, and state-of-the-art sports and recreation amenities (e.g. sports fields, water deck, etc.) – much desired and needed by Westchester County residents.
SPI presented before the Council last meeting and we will continue to share our interest and concerns throughout the process with SPI and the County.
*Editor's Note: The PIP does include a timeline. THe article has been changed to reflect this.
Are you concerned about the proposed Field Zone or do you support the plan? Tell us in the comments.