Golfers want Capital Hills to open for golf

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Capital Hills has gone to the dogs, but area golfers are impatient about getting their space back.

The city-owned, 18-hole track off New Scotland Avenue in Albany is the only Capital Region golf course not operating. Joggers and walkers, many accompanied by canines, have access to the grounds, but the city insists opening to the golfers is a money-losing scenario.

So the golfers are fighting back. An online petition urging “the City of Albany Common Council and Mayor Kathy Sheehan to open Capital Hills Golf Course to golfers” had more than 900 signatures and 300 comments as of early Friday afternoon. An informal protest rally is planned at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the course.

“We want the golf course open more than anyone else,” said David Galin, chief of staff for the mayor, “but we also want to provide programming for our young people in our most under-served communities. We want to make sure our seniors have access to the resources that they need. We’re in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. We’ve made it clear that we’re going to prioritize our city employees and their safety and their livelihoods above all else.”

Albany Common Council member Jack Flynn, whose Ward 8 encompasses the Capital Hills property, is among those who believe the course should be available to golfers. He said he plans to introduce a resolution to that effect at Monday night’s council meeting.

“When they budget for $1 million for the golf course, let’s get at least some of that back,” Flynn said. “I’m not saying we’ll get it all back because we’re not going to have the golf tournament, the Symetra, which we get $20,000 a year for. All I’m asking is we get some generated revenue so we can save these jobs, save the DGS (Department of General Services) workers.”

The CDPHP Open, which would mark the 18th consecutive year that the Symetra Tour for women professional golfers has stopped at Capital Hills, was scheduled for this weekend but was postponed because of COVID-19 concerns. There is a possibility the tournament could be played in September, although no decisions have been made.

“I know council member Flynn has taken this up as something that he’s fighting for,” Galin said. “On the flip side, I’m sure council members on the south end would like the Lincoln Park pool to open, too. We’re looking at this from an equity standpoint, but we’re also looking at this as from the standpoint of prioritizing our city employees and their livelihoods above all else.”

Flynn questioned some of the bookkeeping in determining what it costs to operate the golf course. He said the budget calls for salaried DPS employees to work the golf course. They generally work at Capital Hills for six months and perform other duties in the winter, though Flynn contends that their entire salaries are…

Read More: Golfers want Capital Hills to open for golf 2020-05-30 02:39:52

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