Tension Runs High At Meeting On Rye Playland Field House

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Norm Gill of Pinnacle Indoor Sports discusses the field house that Sustainable Playland wants to build at Rye Playland.
Norm Gill of Pinnacle Indoor Sports discusses the field house that Sustainable Playland wants to build at Rye Playland. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

RYE, N.Y. -- Frustration was high at the Rye Free Reading Room Wednesday at an information session on the field house that Sustainable Playland wants to build at Rye Playland.

Hosted by Sustainable Playland, Playland Sports and Pinnacle Indoor Sports, the event was designed to give residents information on the proposed field house. However, some residents were upset that they did not get a chance to ask questions, and felt that the input of Rye residents was not being heard. Those concerns were partially shared by those making the presentation.

"The frustration runs high, and it runs high amongst our board members," said Bruce Macleod, a board member for Sustainable Playland. He said that the process of approving Sustainable's proposal was flawed, and that there was nothing in the request for proposals on how final approval would be granted. He said that is a question that remains to be resolved by the county executive's office.

Kim Morque, president of Sustainable's board of trustees, said, "The RFP was a good document. It was not a perfect document, and it fell down completely, in my opinion, in terms of the input from the community."

Moque said that Sustainable is willing to hold public hearings and accept input from residents, but that Westchester's government needs to establish the framework for that process.

The proposed field house is 95,000 square feet and 35 feet tall at its highest point, according to Norm Gill of Pinnacle Indoor Sports. It will be placed adjacent to where the maintenace buildings currently are in the Playland Parking Lot. In his presentation, Gill said that the footprint of the field zone is two-thirds the size of what was originally proposed to the county.

Among the questions and concerns from those attending were how it would affect storm water, parking and noise. Gill said that the facility will not impact flooding, and will increase pervious surface by 3.4 acres. All activities will be scheduled, so people will not be able to come and use it as they please. This should reduce the traffic and parking congestion, Gill said. He also said that the facility will not generate noise, and that the outdoor lights will be turned off when the facility is not in use.

The field house is part of Sustainable's Playland Improvement Plan, which has not yet been approved by the county government. Construction on the field house is expected to take six months, Gill said.

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It's pretty incredible that on 12/11/13 SPI essentially spent the evening telling the group of concerned citizens that they couldn't answer any questions, deflecting blame for that on the County and the "process"...yet at the West. Co. Gov. Ops Committee meeting on 12/17/13, for which SPI/Playland was THE ONLY ITEM ON THE AGENDA....SPI chose to be a "No-Show'. The meeting that ensued without them was a discussion between Central Amusements (the Operator SPI has supposedly chosen as the entity to run the Amusement Zone for them) and the Legislators about how everything is stalled because no one can get any of the info or answers to their questions from SPI.

SPI gave the Legislators the parking study in October...and apparently then took it back for adjustments. It's never been re-submitted, over two months later. Without the parking study, Central cannot make a firm decision to take this project on, because if the lot is too drastically reduced so will be the revenue for the park, which is not in the best interests of Central Amusements. Without Central Amusements, SPI's PIP has a big gaping hole and cannot be approved by the Legislators. Everything is hinging on that Field Zone project. And in the meantime, nothing is moving forward and we are yet again soon upon the start of a summer season with no investment, no improvements and no changes for the better at Playland.

Watch the video here: http://westchestercountyny.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=2860&MinutesID=2506&FileFormat=pdf&Format=Minutes&MediaFileFormat=wmv

When's someone complains that their integrity is being questioned, it oftentimes means they have no integrity. Did anyone ask how you are going to play soccer and lacrosse in a 32' high (10.66 yards) facility? Where does "Pickup" stand on SPI, or was he busy "editing" the video?