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High heels, hard hats unite vs. Playland debate
By seeking to publicly vet the private groups that someday might manage Rye Playland, the Westchester County-owned amusement park, the Board of Legislators has managed to garner criticism from both well-heeled women and construction workers.
Folks from Rye packed the Westchester County Board of Legislators public hearing on Playland last week. Most were angry 30-something ladies who wore expensive shoes.
Sustainable Playland is now negotiating a contract with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, to run the park. But legislators believe Astorino can't simply sign a contract with an outside operater without their approval, so they've been meeting the four leading candidates who submitted bids to run the park before Astorino chose Sustainable Playland in 2012.
The Rye women didn't like the idea. To their mind, Sustainable Playland is the best option for the park. Period.
“To a layperson, the whole battle between the board and county executive seems silly,” Suki Vandijk said. “We just want to get it done.”
Coincidentally, when the time came for the public to sit and watch the companies' presentations, the ladies sat down, cordon-like, around Sandhya Subbarao, Narain's wife.
Typing away among them on a Macbook Air was Robin Jovanovich, publisher of the Rye Record, a local newspaper, and wife of Rye City Councilman Peter Jovanovich. The City Council unanimously has supported Sustainable Playland's bid to run the park.
Westchester County's burly construction workers are comrades in arms with the Rye ladies. A few days after the meeting, Ross Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, released a statement.
“The few hundred people who turned out at the Westchester County Center in White Plains learned more and had their questions answered,” the statement said. “But the event was late in coming, and short on impact. The thousands of workers who will one day draw paychecks from Playland’s construction and operations are again forced to sit on the sidelines while elected officials – in this case the Democrats in the Westchester Board of Legislators – grandstand under the guise of public scrutiny and sunshine.”
It did feel like a waste of time to hear about Legoland's plan to demolish Playland. It's dead on arrival. But can it be so bad to learn more about the group, and the friends of the group, who would run a county treasure?