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September 22, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Standard Amusements goes on offensive in Playland contract dispute

The gate to the amusement park near the Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary in Rye. Photo by Bob Rozycki

Standard Amusements, which was brought in by former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s administration to take over operation of Playland, today criticized current County Executive George Latimer for canceling the contract effective May 28 and leveled several allegations against him.

In a document issued May 1, Standard Amusements charged that Latimer has mismanaged the park and ignored public safety, refused to engage in negotiations, refused to meet since November 2018, disregarded $20 million in increased funding offered by Standard, sought to silence public discussion and avoid transparency and has consistently pursued a path to litigation despite the amusement park operator’s repeated attempts to avoid it.

Nevertheless, Standard Amusements also holds out an olive branch, saying it continues to seek positive discussions regarding the future of Playland and its offer to increase its funding by $20 million still stands.

“Since I was a child, Playland was the center of my life. It was my amusement park, the only beach I knew in the summer, and where I ice skated in the winters. Rye Playland holds a special place in my heart, and I’m stunned by the recent turn of events”, said Nicholas J. Singer, principal of Standard Amusements. “After nine years of our best efforts, we still are not the operator of Rye Playland despite a clear contract that says we should be.”

Singer said his company hopes to avoid litigation. It said the safety issues with which it is concerned are widespread and include food handling, environmental issues, rides and fire suppression. It said based on current conditions, if it was the operator of the amusement park it would not open certain rides and amenities to the public.

It said it delivered to the Latimer administration and the county board of legislators a 30-page executive summary of a draft master plan on April 11 in response to requests from individual members of both parties.