Westchester executive, legislators strike deal on Jay Heritage Center in Rye

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The Westchester Board of Legislators and County Executive Rob Astorino have struck a deal to bring the legislature into the approval process to turn over management of the land at the Jay Heritage Center in Rye to the non-profit group that runs the historic mansion.

The Board of Acquisition and Contract, which Astorino controls, postponed a vote on a license Thursday to give the Board of Legislators time to approve the deal. When the deal was announced in early October, Astorino said it didn’t require legislative approval. With that, the Jay Center was on its way to becoming a test case for board control over a separate, larger plan for a private group to take over control of Playland Park.

“The Board’s position was [Westchester] could not enter into a lease agreement — any kind of agreement — over five years without the board’s permission,” said Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins. The law allows the parks commissioner to execute five-year agreements without board involvement, he said.

But since then an agreement came together to bring the board into the process. The legislature may vote as soon as Nov. 13.

Jenkins said it’s too early to say what the Jay property deal will mean for Playland.

“I think there was a determination that it wasn’t time for that fight yet,” he said.

Photo: Suzanne Clary, president of Jay Heritage Center in Rye, announces a new agreement with the state and county for maintenance and restoration of the historic John Jay home and property in Rye. Oct. 5, 2012 (Leah Rae/The Journal News)

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