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Amsterdam, NY ,
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A new turf war is brewing at City Hall

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - Updated: 8:13 AM

Hang tight, Amsterdam.

The ball is now in another court.

... Er, field.

Just when you thought normalcy might rear its unrecognizable head in the chambers of City Hall as an unresolved golf crisis wends its way toward a possible date in court -- because, in Amsterdam, resolution has become the greased pig of compromise -- comes word of another playing field that is apparently in one alderwoman's crosshairs.

Last year, the Amsterdam Common Council approved a decision to replace the infield grass at beloved Shuttleworth Park -- summer home to the ever popular Amsterdam Mohawks and playing field to countless other scholastic and rec athletes -- with a synthetic turf. The former council bonded $172,000 for the work when it created its capital projects list last year.

Now comes word that first-year Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler of the 4th Ward wants to put the brakes on the project, citing several claims that city recreation director Robert Spagnola contends are flat-out wrong. "There is nothing in that resolution that is not just an out-and-out fabrication," he says.

Oh, goodie. Another diversion from the real issues.

Hatzenbuhler's concerns-du-jour include drainage tiles, laser leveling, and the plowing of the infield this winter, which, she says, caused upward of $5,000 in damage. If approved, her resolution would kill the synthetic turf installation. Spagnola has no idea where any of this is coming from. Nor does Mayor Ann Thane.

We can't help but wonder -- during a fiscal crisis larger than any of the potholes around which city motorists now find they have to navigate -- if the City Hall priority list is simply being ignored or if it has been buried under all this snow.

This most recent turf war will be discussed at 5:30 p.m. today during a meeting of the recreation committee.

Because there's really not much else to do.

     

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