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County Legislators Override Astorino’s WCM Lease Veto

A5-wcm1August has been quite the rollercoaster ride for the Westchester Children’s Museum, which was seeking approval of a 10-year lease to operate in the north bathhouse at Playland. In a special meeting August 24, the Board of Legislators voted 15-0 (two were absent) to override County Executive Rob Astorino’s August 19 veto of the Board’s unanimous decision.

 

August has been quite the rollercoaster ride for the Westchester Children’s Museum, which was seeking approval of a 10-year lease to operate in the north bathhouse at Playland. In a special meeting August 24, the Board of Legislators voted 15-0 (two were absent) to override County Executive Rob Astorino’s August 19 veto of the Board’s unanimous decision.

 

A5-newwcm“On behalf of all who have worked so hard to make this museum a reality, and those who let their Legislators know how much they wanted it to be built at Playland – thank you!” said Corinne Zola, WCM President. “We are very grateful to the Board of Legislators who could see beyond politics and vote in favor of a lease. We look forward to working with the County to showcase this museum as a successful public-private partnership and an anchor in the future revitalization of Playland.”

 

The Board originally approved the lease at their August 8 regular meeting. Many of the Legislators spoke out in favor of the museum prior to the vote, including District 7’s Judy Myers, and the decision left WCM Executive Director Tracy Kay and fellow supporters on hand feeling “extremely happy”.

 

But Mr. Astorino soon vetoed the plan, noting, “I was elected to do what I believe is right, not only what is popular.” He also cited the need to protect the taxpayers of Westchester, called the passage of legislation “premature”, and said serious questions about the financial viability of the museum and its business plan remain unanswered.

 

Ms. Myers blasted the County Executive after the veto, calling it a “bad message to others who may want to partner and invest in Westchester County”.

 

The museum has already raised over $8 million of its $14.5 million campaign. In exchange for the $1-a-year lease, $6.4 million is slated for interior and exterior renovations, with another $7 million going towards exhibits. It is expected the museum could attract close to 200,000 visitors annually. n

 

— Jim Byrne


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