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You Paid For It: Capitol Lawn
ALBANY -- You paid for it, twice! The state made extensive repairs to the lawn on West Capitol Park after a huge rally protesting the SAFE Act last year. Now, it's sprucing up the lawn again! The pricetag is smaller, but it's attracting attention, and causing people to wonder how much money the state is spending on grass.
The grass is looking greener on this side of the Capitol. The only cover-up here, sod to replace an area damaged by some St. Patrick's parade spectators. The Office of General Services says it's a $3,900 fix for a ten percent part of the park.
Thousands of people rallied in the same spot last year protesting the SAFE Act. In that case the labor and laying of the sod cost $60,00 -- and a hope the fix would be more permanent.
"As much as we all want to be mindful of our public spending, and I am just like anybody else, it's all about public accessibility," said Assemblyman John McDonald (D-Cohoes). "Everybody who has a lawn does some type of lawn repair every year."
But some say other, more cost-effective options should have been considered. "I think seeding was a better option this year and it was a better option last year," said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R-Melrose). "Is this now going to be a yearly occurance or are the taxpayers of New York are spending money to resod this lawn every year?"
Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R-Schoharie) shared similar thoughts. "We try to maintain it as best we can but recognize there are tourists, there are employees, there are demonstrators. It's never going to be pristine unless you tell people not to even walk on the grass period. And it's really not meant for that it's a public space."
OGS spokeswoman Heather Groll said, "while seed is cheaper than sod the amount of time it takes to grow coupled with the care involved with growing a new lawn from seed ... makes sod the best choice for this public space." The office knows a lot of people enjoy having lunch here, and they said they want everyone to enjoy the space as fully as possible.
"It's nice to have it look nice, but I think there are probably better things to spend the money on like education," said one woman we spoke to during the lunch hour.
"Grass is going to be walked on regardless and the weather's going to damage it more so you might as well take the cheaper route," said a passerby from Colonie.
A landscaper we spoke with estimated that grass seed would cost 9 or 10 cents per square foot, while sod might cost 31 cents per square foot.