Rye Playland has been a household name in Westchester County and New York since 1928, but the park’s future has been up in the air after more than two years of administrative uncertainty. Today Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino put some of that uncertainty to rest with an announcement about the park’s operations going forward. Astorino announced a $25 million deal to revitalize the Rye park and transfer its operations to a private company. New York-based Standard Amusements LLC will pay Westchester $2,250,000 up front, invest $22,750,000 within five years after starting its refurbishment of the park, and make annual payments to the county starting at $300,000 and escalating 2% each year. The County will also receive 7.5% of profits once Standard has recouped its initial investment. This money will go toward the creation of new rides and restaurants as well as upgrading the park’s physical appearance. Standard Amusements will begin operation in Fall 2015 after a transitory summer phase (Westchester County will continue to actually own Playland).
A rendering of the planned Aqua Loop slide
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Park attendees can look forward to at least one huge new water ride as part of the plan: The Aqua Loop (pictured above), which will be a rare looping water slide, is planned as a new complement to the iconic Dragon Coaster.
The county has been trying to shift operations of Playland to a private entity for some time, although no effort has been successful yet. In 2013 Astorino signed two major agreements regarding Playland’s future. One set the groundwork to have a Rye nonprofit, Sustainable Playland, manage the operations of the theme park. The other was to lease the historic north boathouse to the Westchester Children’s Museum. But plans with Sustainable Playland fell through due to a lack of support for the nonprofit’s plans to construct a year-round field house.
As a result, Harrison native Nicholas Singer, partner and co-founder of Standard Amusements LLC, stepped in and orchestrated the new deal. Over the past five years Singer has been working with Jack Falfas, the CEO of United Parks LLC (an organization that will oversee Playland’s operations by Standard Amusements) to create this arrangement and development plan.
The deal will run for 15 years with an option to renew for another 15.
The deal has 60 days to go before the Westchester Board of Legislators for approval and review.
Top photo used under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license.