Yesterday, I made a major announcement about the future of Playland amusement park. Anyone who has watched their child or grandchild take a ride on the Dragon Coaster or enjoyed the wonderful views of the Long Island Sound from the boardwalk know what a treasure Playland is.
But Playland is a financial drain to Westchester taxpayers, losing $3 to $5 million a year. In 2005, 1 million people went to Playland. This past summer, only 433,000 did. We needed to reinvent Playland for the 21st century.
In August of 2010 I put out a call for Requests for Proposals for Playland. I was looking for people to come forward with ideas that would make Playland financially viable while preserving its historical significance.
Watch the Playland Press Conference
Of the 12 proposals reviewed by the county and a citizens committee, Sustainable Playland was chosen because their plan did just that.
The bottom line for taxpayers is that the county and Sustainable have signed a letter of intent for a 10-year management agreement, in which the county will receive an upfront payment of $4 million from Sustainable, as well as a minimum payment of $1.2 million a year. That money will go toward retiring the county’s existing $32 million debt on Playland. The county will save $18 million in interest and principal payments and be debt free at Playland within 12 years.
Sustainable puts the “play” back into Playland and is committed to making an initial investment of $34 million in capital improvements by adding a number of new, exciting features that will surely make it a premier destination once again:
- An Aqua Zone, featuring a mini-water park and beach attractions
- Outdoor ball fields and an indoor field house
- A renovated indoor ice rink and a new outdoor winter rink
- A Great Lawn, with sweeping views of the Sound, which can be used for a variety of events, such as graduations, corporate-sponsored functions and outdoor concerts
- An indoor multi-use facility, which can be rented for parties, weddings, meetings and conferences
- New restaurants
General admission will be free. Fees will be charged for rides in the amusement park, water park, beach, athletic fields and ice skating rink.
Click here to view the Plan to Reinvent Playland for the 21st Century
Sustainable will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of both the amusement area and the surrounding 100 acres of parkland. Proceeds to pay the county, maintain the grounds and make capital improvements will come from the fees Sustainable charges the operators it will hire to run various elements throughout the park.
This plan will be a boost to our economy, create hundreds of jobs and give relief to our taxpayers.