RYE, N.Y. – Playland Amusement Park in Rye will receive a $34 million upgrade by Sustainable Playland Inc., thanks to a civic-commercial partnership reached between the Rye-based group and Westchester, County Executive Robert Astorino announced Thursday morning.
“It will truly be a destination from morning to night and all seasons. [The plan] will create a portfolio approach to Playland as opposed to one event and that’s just come here and walk around an amusement park, or not if it’s a bad day,” said Astorino at the amusement park.
Main institutions of the historic amusement park would remain, including the Dragon Coaster, boardwalk, and Kiddyland. However, new elements that will be added include an “Aqua Zone” mini-water park and beach attractions; outdoor ball fields and an outdoor field house; renovations to the indoor ice rink and a new outdoor ice rink for the winter; new restaurants; enhanced access to the Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary; an indoor multi-use facility for rental; and a Great Lawn, with views of the Long Island Sound.
Under the new plan, general admission to Playland and the Great Lawn would be free. Attractions throughout the park that will be grouped into zones like amusement, water, beach, and fields will be pay-as-you-go.
“Playland does belong to everybody and we want to make sure that everyone knows this is their park ... but it’s not just limited to Westchester, we want the New York metro region,” said Astorino. “We want this as part of our tourism to be an economic boost continuously and bring dollars from people who would not otherwise come here.”
The county executive and Sustainable’s President Dhruv Narain, a Rye resident, signed a letter of intent to develop a ten-year asset management agreement. Under the terms of the contract, the county will receive an upfront payment of $4 million from Sustainable , as well as a minimum payment of $1.2 million a year beginning in the second year, said Astorino.
The money will go toward ending the county’s existing $32 million of debt on Playland. “This will be a revenue source once again for the county,” said Astorino.
Construction will begin as soon as contracts are signed in the next 90 days. The first phase will be a 12-week project to build the ball fields. If construction begins early enough, Astorino said the newly-planned amusement area could be up and running by next summer. No matter what, he added, the amusement park will be open for the 2013 season.