A turf worth having

Round about a decade ago, a couple of school districts in Central New York looked around, realized that the weather tends to get nasty around here from October to April, and decided that it might be prudent to get an all-weather facility out there.

Now it helped that Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool were large districts with a distinct political advantage at the time, plus beverage bucks. Still, artificial turf went down in both places, with admittedly mixed results.

Short-term, it was a slam dunk, grand slam, knockout and other tired sports cliches. A stream of events came to these locales beyond the usual CNS and Liverpool stuff, from semi-pro football to college lacrosse to state championships in (at one point or another) track, lacrosse and field hockey.

Long-term, the results were a bit more mixed. CNS still goes strong, but it's also stuck with a concrete-like carpet that pro and college organizations abandoned long ago when "Field Turf" (the artificial stuff that looks like grass) came into being.

At Liverpool, the turf became uneven, downright dangerous and is now condemned, on its way out, the district (which has its own share of serious issues) looking to replace its as part of a massive capital project about to be voted on.

Now Field Turf is everywhere in the area, in places like West Genesee, Central Square, Solvay, Chittenango, Utica, Rome, plus three high schools in Syracuse. At the same time, districts like Cazenovia, Jamesville-DeWitt and Baldwinsville have balked, either in school board sessions or in public voter, the taxpayers having their say.

Which brings us to Fayetteville-Manlius, and what has become a long and bitter battle over whether to replace the high school's antiquated stadium with something larger, more accessible and much more durable. The vote is March 5, and in the F-M community, it's turned quite heated.

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