County Executive Rob Astorino now says the move to cut entrance fees a Rye Playland was irresponsible.
“The budget process was in the fall. They should have talked about it then. They decided to do this on a whim that’s gonna cost the county a million dollars,” he said.
He added that the county can’t afford that.
“At a time when we have a huge deficit, as well $4 to $5 million losses at Playland. So, it’s irrseponsible and quite idiotic, to be very frank,” said Astorino. “The people who come in and don’t pay are generally not going to pay when they get in and most of the people who come in are non-county residents. So, once again, you have county residents further subsidizing a losing park.”
So, until matters are resolved, the fees will remain. $5 residents and $10 for non-residents.
The Westchester County Board of Legislators voted on Monday to cut the new $5 entrance fee at Playland for county residents and also to cut the $10 fee in half for non-residents. The vote was aimed in part at encouraging attendance at the park, which has been declining in recent years. Attendance dropped to 494,000 in 2010 from a million in 2005.
Because it is owned and operated by Westchester County, taxpayers already are subsidizing the park’s operation and their subsidy has increased. According to the county, the amusement park presently loses about $4 million a year, including operating and capital improvements.
Playland will host special events this coming Memorial Day weekend and a special citizen’s committee established by the county is currently reviewing several proposals to “reinvent” Playland’s facilities and overall programs in future years.
See our series on Playland for more information.
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.