By Julie Shapiro
BATTERY PARK CITY — State officials have finally agreed to fix up a muddy field in Battery Park City, several weeks after putting the work on hold because of an inter-agency squabble.
The State Department of Transportation will close the damaged lawn in West Thames Park on Wednesday morning and will install new sod by the end of next week, said Adam Levine, a State DOT spokesman.
State DOT officials previously said they did not want to install the sod until they had resolved a dispute with the Battery Park City Authority over who would maintain the field.
But after a high-level meeting between the agencies last week, the officials agreed to begin installing the sod now, while they continue to work through the maintenance issues, Levine said.
"I'm glad to hear that," said Linda Belfer, chairman of Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee, when told of the deal on Monday.
Belfer had slammed State DOT and the Battery Park City Authority two weeks ago for holding up the field repairs, and she was the one who suggested they install the sod now and hammer out the details of an agreement later.
Once the sod is in place, the lawn will still be fenced off for eight more weeks to allow the new grass to put down roots. It should reopen by mid-to-late July, Levine said.
Belfer said that while it is not ideal to have the field out of commission for the next two months, at least it will reopen before the season is over.
"The sooner they get it done, the sooner the grass will be available," Belfer said. "The summertime is prime time."
The newly renovated West Thames Park field originally opened last summer, but the bright-green grass disappeared almost immediately because the sod had too much clay, which prevented the field from draining. Since then, the lawn has mostly been a large mud puddle, leading residents to call it an "eyesore."
The Battery Park City Authority had previously agreed to maintain the lawn but raised concerns about State DOT's work following the sod issues. BPCA officials said they would not agree to take care of the park until the Hudson River Park Trust, which owns the property, signed off on the park's completion.
Those issues have not yet been resolved.
The Battery Park City Authority did not respond to a request for comment.