FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 25, 2012
Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 (office) | 914-815-4462 (cell)
Democratic Legislators Promise Open, Transparent Review of Playland’s Future Will Continue
White Plains, NY – In the wake of this week’s meeting between the Westchester County Board of Legislators’ Government Operations Committee and Sustainable Playland, Inc., several Democratic members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators are promising their open, transparent review of proposals regarding Playland’s future will continue.
“We appreciated the opportunity to finally begin asking representatives of Sustainable Playland some important questions about their proposal, and although we are very impressed with their overview as it stands, we’ll want to see the details and ask more questions before approvals are made or contracts are signed,” said Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), chair of the BOL’s Government Operations Committee.
Borgia remarked that the Government Operations Committee still plans to hear from other interested respondents and also thoroughly review Playland’s current operations in order to “have the most complete picture possible when recommending to the BOL the best decision for this great, iconic park.”
Sustainable Playland President Dhruv Narain outlined the area of operations and cost centers in the group’s proposal and answered a number of questions from the legislators concerning debt service, jobs, accessibility, affordability and financial oversight. He mentioned that his group plans to take down the fences surrounding Playland and let park goers walk around free of charge while just paying for the amusements or other attractions.
Much of the discussion in the committee meeting also centered on the financing for the proposal and worst-case scenarios should the ten-year plan fail to make enough money. Legislators remain concerned that the County will still be on the hook for about $2.2 million in debt service costs to the taxpayers after Sustainable Playland pays the County its promised $1.2 million annual base line fee.
Playland is specifically controlled by the BOL in accordance with the County Charter since the dissolution of the Playland Commission. Earlier this month, County Executive Robert P. Astorino signed a letter of intent for Sustainable Playland to manage and operate the County’s 280-acre amusement park and recreation area.
“The intention is to keep gathering information in the committee,” said BOL Majority Leader Pete Harckham. “Because the Astorino Administration conducted most of the decision-making behind closed the doors, it’s important that the public be fully involved with this important decision for the sake of Westchester County residents and taxpayers.”
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