RYE, NY—Westchester County Executive RobertAstorino officiated over the ceremonial reopening onThursday of the storied Ice Casino at Playland,which was closed after suffering extensive damage from HurricaneSandy two years ago.

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A $4.9-million restoration of the 85-year old Ice Casino knownfor its distinctive Art Deco architecture, high-vaulted roof withcrisscrossing wooden beams, has been completed.

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Astorino dropped the ceremonial first puck at center ice betweenhockey players to officially reopen the Ice Casino. “Our Ice Casinoat Playland is like a great athlete,” Astorino says. “When it getsknocked down, it gets up and comes back stronger than ever. Nowwith our new partner, American Skating EntertainmentCenters, joining us, slap shots, double axles, triple toeloops, thrills, spills and lots

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The new operator of the Ice Casino, American Skating will invest$640,000 of its money into the building over the next 18 months forcapital improvements that will involve refurbishing and modernizingthe interior with upgraded floors, and improved lighting,electronics, bathrooms, locker rooms and guest services areas.

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"We are honored to play a role in the vision to re-inventPlayland,” says Shane Coppola, chairman and CEO ofAmerican Skating Entertainment Centers. “American Skating iscommitted to making Playland a world-class destination for figureskating and hockey programs by providing outstanding customerservice, improving operating efficiencies, and making significantinvestments to upgrade our iconic facility. We are excited to beworking with some of the most successful hockey and skatingprograms in New York.”

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Other announcements about the further re-invention of Playlandare expected later this fall when a review of current parkoperations and future opportunities will be completed byDan Biederman, an internationally recognizedleader in urban and public space management, whose accomplishmentshave included the restoration of Bryant Park in New York City.

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The Astorino administration and some members of theWestchester County Board of Legislators are atodds over the future operations at Rye Playland. While Astorinoawaits the Biederman report, the County Board met with twofinalists for the redevelopment project in September. Earlier thisyear, the firm the Astorino administration selected for theredevelopment venture walked away from the project.

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County Legislator Catherine Parker took a swipeat the Astorino administration's reopening ceremony at the IceCasino, stating that the project is a year behind schedule, whichresulted in the loss of $2 million in revenue during the 2013-2014season.

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“While I'm pleased that residents will finally able to skateonce again at the Ice Casino, the reality here is that this projectis 365 days late and nearly two million dollars of anticipatedrevenue short,” says Parker. “I want us to remember what stillneeds to be done at Playland. Let's show our pride and love forthis magnificent county park by honestly dedicating resources andefforts to its repair and upkeep.”

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John Jordan

John Jordan is a veteran journalist with 36 years of print and digital media experience.