6 responses to potentially redevelop Rye Town Park

Rye Town Park and the Oakland Beach area could soon see an extensive overhaul.

The Rye Town Park Commission, which sets policy at the park, will mull over proposals from six applicants intent on taking over operations of the park after a recent solicitation for qualifications of potential developers and management companies.
The outcome of the selection process could have far-reaching effects for a park that in many ways is outdated and in need of upgrades.

Among the applicants are some familiar faces to the area, including Nicholas Singer, cofounder of Standard Amusements— the management company currently in the midst of negotiating a deal with Westchester County to operate Playland—as well as the city of Rye and Dan Biederman, a developer most known for his work at Bryant Park in New York City, but also previously affiliated with Sustainable Playland Inc., the group initially chosen to redevelop Playland before backing out. Other applications include Southwest Capital Inc., Caspi Development and Seaside Johnnies, the current restaurant overlooking Oakland Beach.

While a similar request for proposals was sent out in 2013, it attracted zero attention. The most recent round, which has asked respondents to take control of the development and operation of the park, has been a stark turnaround.

According to Rye Town Supervisor Gary Zuckerman, a Democrat and member of the commission, a more aggressive method in sourcing candidates paid off this time around.

“I expected that there would be a number of responses this time because [the commission] reached out more broadly than we did last time,” said Zuckerman, who took elected office this year, adding that the commission actively reached out to candidates they felt might be interested.

Some of the proposals received for Rye Town Park offer aggressive plans. Singer’s concept would bring in a wider away of events, food options and even lodging facilities, and possibly rides to the park.

On the less expansive side, the city of Rye emphasized retaining the park’s current character and building on what is already there. The city and town jointly fund operations at the park and capital improvements. The park is situated along Forest Avenue in the city of Rye and incorporates 34 acres of parkland, including Oakland Beach and the Long Island Sound.

Rye City Manager Marcus Serrano said taking over operations of the park would be more about expanding services to residents.

“We would provide more activities with families [and] expand services we provide to our town and city,” he said.

Currently, the park is in need of $14 million in capital improvements.

According to the city of Rye’s proposal, if selected it would foot the cost for all operational expenses and retain revenue from the park. All surplus revenue would be put towards capital projects and operational expenses.

According to Zuckerman, the commission will be tasked with sifting through the options and deciding what’s best for the park’s future.

“This is the beginning of the process, not the end of it,” he said, adding that there isn’t a deadline for making a final decision and that the process will take as long as necessary.

Zuckerman said the commission will review the proposals and then, those that are deemed suitable will be reviewed by the public.

Singer could not be reached for comment as of press time.
CONTACT: james@hometwn.com; sibylla@hometwn.com

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