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Nassau: Artificial turf ballfields on hold

Nassau County has temporarily shelved plans to install artificial turf ballfields at three area parks, but is proceeding with regular maintenance at the sites, county officials said Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board with control of the county's finances, rejected an $8.1 million contract to install turf ballfields at Cantiague Park in Hicksville and Bay Park in East Rockaway.

NIFA board members said the plan was too expensive during the county's budget crisis and relied on unrealistic estimates that the new fields would quadruple revenue at Bay Park and increase revenue tenfold at Cantiague.

Instead, this week the county began using its own staff from the Department of Public Works to fix the ballfields at Cantiague. Deputy County Executive Rob Walker said the work is "routine maintenance" and includes removing old dirt and improving the existing field's drainage.

At the site Thursday, a handful of public-works dump trucks moved dirt from one area of the grass field to another. There appeared to be no outside contractors on-site, and the field itself was intact, with no artificial turf visible in the area.

"We are not moving forward with this [turf] project," Walker said.

Democratic legislative candidates have criticized the county's turf-fields plan in mailings for next month's election.

Plans for a centralized complex of new turf fields at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow have also been put on hold, Walker said. However, previously approved turf fields at Cedar Creek Park in Seaford and Grant Park in Hewlett are progressing, Walker said.


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