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AUGUST 18 - AUGUST 25, 2015

Solving the mystery of the science museum? Reporter asks Andrew Touma for answers

By Mike Hudson

August 18, 2015

Council Chairman Andrew Toiuma (above) explains reason for sponsoring resolution to buy brownfield property (below).


While the public has not been informed of the cost to taxpayers, on Saturday, August 1, Mayor Paul Dyster cut the ribbon at the ceremony for the opening of a new cricket field on Girard Avenue at 61st Street in the LaSalle section of Niagara Falls.

He then proceeded to play an inning himself with members of the Buffalo-Niagara Cricket Club on hand for field-opening festivities.

Dyster was approached by members of the Buffalo-Niagara Cricket Club earlier this year about building them a home field.  He says the sport is a sign of the booming diversity in the city.

“Indian Americans are an important part of our culture now- and we’re always looking for ways to accommodate people,” Dyster said. “Cricket may be unfamiliar to a lot of us- but that doesn’t mean it’s not something that people enjoy playing, if we could find an opportunity for them to do that, we always want to accommodate.”

Dyster added that the city tries to accommodate the sporting tastes of all residents. Bocce courts are in Hyde Park, and a skate park is being built in the city later this year.

"This home field motivates us, it makes us want to come play because it so awesome," team President Dr. Nyathappa Anand told the Niagara Gazette. "It's a dream come true."

Dr. Anand is the chief neurologist at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

Dyster said that, with active Bocce teams, padded street hockey courts and a planned skate park in Hyde Park set to begin construction in the fall, cricket falls into a variety of lesser-known sports available in Niagara Falls and is typical of the city's ethnic diversity.

The mayor dismissed controversy over the cricket field, which he originally said would displace three Babe Ruth Little League baseball diamonds at Hyde Park. The only piece of infrastructure required for the field, Dyster said, was three concrete slabs at the center of the grounds.

He did not say how much it cost.

The cricket controversy erupted in May, when Dyster, after arriving late to the Opening Day ceremony for the Babe Ruth League, told League President Jeff Cafarella – according to Cafarella - that his organization would have to “make room” for the cricketeers.

"We're not going to get rid of Babe Ruth baseball, that's for sure,'" Cafarella told the Reporter the mayor said to him. "'But they (the cricket league) need a place to play.'"

"It's kind of upsetting," Cafarella said. "For the past two years, we have been trying to get the city to make some much needed improvements at Hyde Park. They don't want to help us, but right away they want to make way for a cricket league. That's the discouraging part."

Niagara Gazette columnist Ken Hamilton has led a campaign to have basketball courts installed in Hyde Park, but has not been able to interest Dyster despite having many young local players interested in the sport.

“Citizens have been asking for basketball courts at Hyde Park for four years," Hamilton commented recently in a public forum. "However they're not even on the drawing board.”






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