Rye Playland amusement park being considered for closure

Posted Wednesday, August 4, 2010 12:01 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Rye Playland is the only amusement park in the nation that is owned and operated by the government. Playland hasn't earned a profit in at least a generation. The park costs between 3 and 6 million dollars a year to operate. Astorino says it makes more fiscal sense to shut it down.

Read more from WNBC/New York.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010 3:48 PM

Probably not, at least not to the county. Other states may be different but most counties are funded by a property tax and sometimes a hotel tax, and that's usually it. They most likely are not seeing any tax benefit from the park. They won't get a percentage of any income tax or sales tax. I also doubt that the park draws enough people to affect the local businesses. No one I know goes to Rye then stays in a local hotel. On my last visit I couldn't even find a place to eat nearby, the area is mostly residential.

Again you have to look at it from the county executive's point of view. It's not the county's responsibility to keep people employed by subsidizing a park that few of its own residents are using. Let the state or city subsidize the park, they are ones getting the taxes.

The question however is what can they do with that property that would cost less? Even creating a greenspace requires upkeep and money. Maintaining soccer fields or baseball diamonds will also cost money. According to the article they can't sell it as it is public land. But anything they do to it will end up costing the county money one way or another.

Last edited by Jeffrey Seifert, Wednesday, August 4, 2010 3:52 PM
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010 4:54 PM
delan's avatar

Shut the front door! My Mom lives 11 minutes from this park, so I have to make an effort to bring myself there. Doesn't it get like 1 million visitors/year? Not too shabby.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010 5:07 PM

Astorino has been trying to close down Playland for years. This is simply another attempt. Every attempt he has made has been defeated. He definitely knows how to manipulate a lot of the facts when presenting them to the media.

Westchester County is the 2nd richest county in NY and the 12th in the United States. They have the highest property values and taxes in the tri-state area. It is a very wealthy county.

The park has landmark status on the state and national level. It is on the list of National Historical places. At least 5 of its rides have landmark status as well.

While we should all go visit and support Playland - I don't think it will be closing.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010 5:44 PM

Thanks Jim, that's good to know.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010 7:09 PM

Astorio is a run of the mill Politician. He has accomplished nothing in his turn and is looking for an easy out to prove he can save same money. He has been targeting the park for a long time. He's claiming the park hasn't made a profit in a generation yet it made 16 million in 2004 according to it's 260 page master plan. The master plan also said that 55% of the park attendance was the local County, 10% Groups, 28% neighboring counties and 7% destination guests. If they have droped form 55% to 30% what is the managmetn and county officials doing to scare then away in teh last 6 years.

From what i have read the park is not advertised enough which hurts. The costs are high the County pays 800,000 to a In park Police department. Since its county there are many Union workers.

There are management firms out there that could handle the park. The park can make money it has and in more recent years then Astorio wants people to believe.

Delan - The park for a few years made just short to above 1 million. form 2000 to 2007. in resent years like so many park it saw a drop in attendance the weather has dragged the attendance down to either 600 to 700 thousand

Lets support the park: join it's facebook page and post our support.:

http://www.facebook.com/reqs.php#!/ryeplayland

Last edited by MRCEagle, Wednesday, August 4, 2010 7:14 PM
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010 10:41 PM
LostKause's avatar

If they ever did consider closing it down, wouldn't it make better sense to put it up for sale so someone else could give running the park a go?

Isn't this park really close to NYC, like a 45 minute drive? Why don't they get more attendance from there?


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Wednesday, August 4, 2010 10:54 PM

You'd never know the park was there unless you knew about it beforehand. Since its a county park, Im sure it isn't advertised much other than locally. We went to SFNE and Compounce in 2001 Found Quassy by mistake. One sign that said Amusement park this exit. Then went down 95 right past the park to SFGADV.

In 08 we made sure we split a day between Coney and Rye, Rye I have to say was the dream park I'd love to have in my back yard. Couple of Dark rides. A Cedar Downs (only other one in USA) Great Dodgems, Neat old Woodie (Lot bigger then you'd expect for its age but kinda force less), Lots of classic flats and a Old Mill. Couple of newer rides as well. Well rounded park, Beautiful setting and impeccably maintained.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010 1:34 PM

The Art Deco architecture of the park is amazing. A park that was well designed in the 1920s and has stayed true to its design is a real gem. When you enter thru the front gate area you truly feel like you are walking back in time. Plus this park has many great rides. Great waterfront area and a beautiful Ice Casino that until 2003 was an NHL practice rink. It is a wonderful park that should not be closed.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010 9:16 PM

The park is amazing. Like said a real throw back. there are many things they could do to improve the park and a fantastic platform to which to build from.

Last edited by MRCEagle, Saturday, August 7, 2010 9:51 AM
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Thursday, August 5, 2010 9:23 PM
Mamoosh's avatar

What is a "through back"? Did you mean "throw back"?

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Friday, August 6, 2010 12:12 AM

How is Playland different from any other government-owned park? Sure, most local governments don't own and operate amusement parks, but regular city parks surely don't generate enough income to allow them to break even. Do you think NYC's Central Park generates enough income to compensate for the costs of keeping it open? I seriously doubt it.

I don't live in Westchester County but I'm not that far from it either... I've never heard of a loud public outcry to close the place down and there seems to be quite a few people in the county that want it there regardless of it costing them money, so I'm thinking Astorino is trying to make an issue of something that most don't feel to be an issue in the first place.

As Jim said, visit the park to support it. If you want to give the county a good reason to keep it, spend some money. You'll have a great time. It's a real gem.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010 10:59 PM

Jeff said:
I don't think that's a fair generalization. All of the local governments I worked for were particularly efficient, because they had to be.

You've obviously never worked for one of Pennsylvania's 2500+ municipalities.

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