Excerpt from “Reinventing Playland for the 21st Century – a Request for Proposals to Develop, Manage, Operate and Maintain and/or Propose Other Options for Playland Park. Issued August 27, 2010 by the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation.

There is no shortage of choices facing today’s consumers when they find themselves trying to decide how to spend their precious leisure time and limited personal income.

With time and money scarce, the success of those with products and services to sell depends on their ability to attract, satisfy and retain customers. Anyone who has ever run a business can tell you this is no small task. And nowhere are the challenges tougher than in the quest for entertainment dollars where tastes and technology redefine consumer choices on a seemingly daily basis.

Against this backdrop, Westchester County is seeking the answer to this question: How does it reinvent iconic and historic Playland Park to thrive in the 21st century?

This Request for Proposals (“RFP”) is an attempt to answer that question. Over the years, there have been numerous studies regarding Playland but the focus has always been on the viability of the Amusement Park. This RFP is different in that it is looking for ideas that will unlock the full recreational and entertainment value of the property at large.

The RFP covers approximately100 acres of the larger 280-acre Playland Park in Rye, New York, which includes long stretches of scenic vistas of Long Island Sound. A beautiful beach, Olympic-size pool, waterfront boardwalk, fishing piers, boating, dining and picnic areas, and indoor ice skating rinks are just some of the features.

Since 1928, the focal point of the property has been the Amusement Park, which today has 50 major rides and attractions. The prototype of today’s modern theme parks, Playland was the country’s first totally planned amusement park. Seven of its rides and several of its art deco buildings are designated as National Historic Landmarks.

Bold and visionary ideas are welcome, but simple and practical may be a winning combination as well. The critical point is that this RFP should be considered a “blank sheet of paper” on which a new and sustainable future for one of the greatest open spaces anywhere can be drawn. Ideas may include keeping all or part of the Amusement Park or completely refashioning Playland to bring life to a vision of what the property can and should be in the years and decades to come.

Entrepreneurial imagination is encouraged to produce the widest array of possibilities. This is a unique opportunity to invent the future.

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