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Standard Amusements Presents Playland Plan to Westchester Legislators

Standard Amusements presented their plan to revitalize Playland to the Government Operations Committee of the Westchester County Board of Legislators

Proposal Will Include $25 Million Investment from New Operator

White Plains, NY – An executive team from Standard Amusements presented their plan to revitalize Playland to the Government Operations Committee (GO) of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) today, showing in detail how their proposal would maintain the historical amusement park and recreation facility’s attraction and charm while upgrading elements and operations to increase financial viability—and decrease costs for county taxpayers.

Last month County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced that he’d chosen a proposal from Sustainable Playland, Inc. (SPI), a Rye-based not-for-profit, to operate Playland beginning next year. But a number of questions were raised by the proposal, and the SPI management team subsequently met with the BOL GO as part of the BOL’s due diligence to review all of the proposals, as the BOL must approve any agreements regarding Playland. The GO plans to hear from the other groups who had submitted proposals to operate Playland as well.

“I am pleased that the Standard Amusements team was able to share its proposal with us today,” said Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), chair of the GO. “Their ideas for reinventing Playland were certainly impressive, and this goes to show that a completely transparent process for deciding this iconic park’s future is in the best interests of the county’s taxpayers.”  The Standard Amusements team had sought to present its proposal to the BOL in March 2012 but was told by the Administration that doing so could potentially disqualify them from the RFP process.

As described by Nicholas Singer, a Harrison, NY native and co-founding partner of Standard General, the investment firm behind Standard Amusements, the proposal would include a $25 million investment (all of it now “on-hand”) into Playland—a $6 million upfront payment to the County and the remaining going toward interest on County debt and capital expenditures. Singer stressed that the Standard Amusement plan would greatly improve Playland without altering its mission, footprint or historical integrity. The park’s employees would also be retained.

Standard Amusements CEO is a renowned amusement park operator with over forty years of experience in the industry who led the successful turnaround of a number of amusement parks, including Great America in Santa Clara, California and King’s Dominion in Richmond, Virginia.

The Standard Amusements plan calls for a comprehensive facelift for Playland, improved food operations, more games that cultivate inter-generational experiences, increased use of the park for live entertainment and seasonally-themed shows, plus better marketing of the park.

“It is obvious that both of the proposals presented to us look toward boosting the future success of Playland and erasing the County’s financial obligations there as well,” said Legislator Judy Myers (D-Larchmont).

“The Board of Legislators looks forward to working with the Administration to ensure that the future of Playland is right for all of Westchester,” said BOL Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers). “Having the opportunity to hear from Standard Amusements and all of the groups who submitted proposals is a good first step in this regard.”

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

NAO November 13, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I am glad that the BOL is looking at this to make sure it is in the best interests of all Westchester County Residents. It would be nice if the proposals would be available for the public to review either on line or in print. Lastly I think it would be in the Wester County Residents best interests to have a public forum (perhaps even vote) on this.
Demoralized Citizen November 14, 2012 at 10:57 PM
I'm more skeptical. This is just more of the political fight between the County Executive and the Board of Legislators. When politicians justify actions based on "process" that is usually because they are weak on substance. But if transparency is the goal, lets just make sure its really applied even handedly, including to the current operations status quo. Which private operators deal with Playland? If their leases are based on profits how are their reported profits audited? Are the terms armslength? Are any of them significant contributors to members of the Board of Legislators (or the current or former County Executives for that matter). Now that is transparency I could believe in.

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