Coralie Carlson

Westchester County Pulls Out of Deal to Revitalize Playland Amusement Park

Playland is the largest government-run amusement park in the country, and served as the backdrop for parts of the Tom Hanks movie "Big"

Westchester County officials said Sunday they were terminating a deal with a private company to manage Playland, the county's landmark amusement park. 

County Executive George Latimer accused Standard Amusements of wasting taxpayer money and spending it in ways that weren't allowed in the agreement. 

Standard Amusements said Latimer's decision "is deeply disappointing and devastatingly false." 

The company was going to invest millions of dollars and add attractions including a water park for children under the deal, which was made by Latimer's predecessor. 

"Standard Amusements’ perfectly valid conduct was never controversial under the prior Administration, and this move is nothing more than a means to improperly terminate a thirty year contract that was twice approved by super majorities of the Westchester Board of Legislators," the company said in a statement Monday. "It exposes taxpayers to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses from Playland’s extensive capital needs and needless litigation. The Administration has been negotiating in bad faith and, despite numerous requests, Mr. Latimer has been unwilling to meet with Standard Amusements since November 2018." 

"This course of action also directs attention away from the County’s complete mishandling of food safety, failure to secure the wooden Dragon Coaster, and lack of proper fire suppression technology at Playland," the statement said. 

Playland is the largest government-run amusement park in the country. It served as the backdrop for parts of the Tom Hanks movie "Big." The park, often called Rye Playland, includes a celebrated wooden Dragon coaster and tame Kiddyland rides.

Standard Amusements said it has worked for nearly a decade and spent more than $10 million to save Playland. It said Monday it remains more committed "than ever to restoring Playland to its former glory." 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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