The triple bottom line normally refers to projects that address the needs of People, Profits, and the Planet. But it could refer to Playland Park if a new proposal for the park’s development is accepted.
On March 10th the county received 11 proposals from groups interested in “reinventing Playland for the 21st century.” Most came from veteran amusement park and fair operators. But one proposal, submitted by the nonprofit Sustainable Playland of Rye (SPI), clearly addresses the need to protect Long Island Sound and important natural habitats along the coastline that can suffer from erosion, flooding and pollution.
SPI’s proposal– about 57 pages– is designed to “partner the skills of the private sector with the Westchester County government to implement its plan with governance and operations similar to the Central Park Conservancy.”
The plan would “provide a Westchester community-based solution that will restore the historical and environmental integrity of Playland Park and propose a plan for its evolution into a sustainable park that is fully in the public domain with increased open green spaces and access to the shoreline.” (A copy of the full proposal is provided on the organization’s website.)
According to the Wall Street Journal, while backed by business executives, Goldman Sachs and UBS financiers who live in the area,”SPI doesn’t want the local park to be turned into an ‘over-the-top-hotel or casino.'” They hired Doug McKean, a third-generation Rye resident and LEED accredited architect to develop the plans. His work on Grand Central Terminal in New York City won recognition from President Clinton and he actually completed his Master’s thesis on Playland Park in 1979! The proposal reflects his thirty plus years of thinking and experience with the park.
The next step in the proposal process is for the feasibility of each proposal to be evaluated by the citizens committee recently appointed by County Executive Robert P. Astorino. He says, “The level of interest in Playland and its future is impressive. We now look to our citizens committee for its input.”
Astorino appointed a 19-member citizen committee including business interests, environmentalists, park experts and park users to evaluate the proposals by the end of June or later. The committee will meet in April for the first time and is chaired by Jim Chisholm, chairman of the county’s Parks Board.
The County isn’t required to accept any of the proposals.
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.