Attendance at Rye Playland was 467,948 this year, up 20 percent from the 2013 season, according to the Westchester County Board of Legislators. Gross revenue in 2014 was 24 percent higher than last year — $8.75 million compared to $7.07 million.
Officials from the county Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation told members of the Board of Legislators’ Labor, Parks, Planning and Housing Committee that the uptick in attendance and revenue is due to successful promotions, good weather and special events.
The attendance and revenues don’t include special events at the 280-acre amusement park and recreation area that take place through October, according to the legislators, who received the annual year-end report Tuesday.
“The great news about the wonderful season at Playland this year shows that there is still a lot of life and excitement left in this amusement park yet,” County Legislator Peter Harckham, D-North Salem, said in a statement. “The park continues to serve as a top destination for residents and their families. That’s why it is so important that the park’s revitalization plans move forward right away, and that a partner be brought on board before the next season begins.”
County Executive Rob Astorino chose Sustainable Playland to run the park and add activities to draw visitors throughout the year, but the Rye nonprofit withdrew from consideration in June. The group faced local opposition and lawsuits.
The county’s Board of Acquisition and Contract last month awarded Biederman Redevelopment Ventures a $100,000 contract to develop recommendations for the county executive, a Republican, on how to revitalize the park and make it a year-round destination. It also approved a 10-year contract with American Skating Entertainment Centers to run the Ice Casino.
Democratic county legislators have criticized the Biederman contract, saying they want to move quickly to find a park operator and have that company in place for 2015. Earlier this month, representatives of the two companies that submitted proposals along with Sustainable Playland several years ago spoke to lawmakers about their continued interest in obtaining a contract.
The companies are Zamperla subsidiary Central Amusement International, which operates Luna Park at Coney Island, and Standard Amusements. Both have said they would invest $25 million in the park, which first opened in 1928.
(Journal News file photo.)