Mayor Greg Ballard revealed Tuesday during a trade mission to India that Indianapolis hopes to host the inaugural United States Cricketing Championship next summer or fall.
It was the first public announcement of the city's plans, and suddenly shed light on a $6 million project to create a complex that would host the event on the city's far east side.
Already, Ballard has enlisted the Indiana Sports Corp. and Visit Indy, the city’s tourism arm, to help attract, promote and conduct the cricket event, according to Marc Lotter, a spokesman for the mayor. The event will be sanctioned by the United States of America Cricket Association.
Lotter told IBJ the effort to host the event is part of the initiative to transform a 40-acre city park in the 1300 block of South Post Road into an international sports complex capable of hosting local, regional, national and international cricket, rugby, lacrosse and hurling events.
One multi-use field already is complete at the Post Road Community Park and is being used by the city’s local cricket club, Lotter said. The park will be renamed Indianapolis World Sports Park.
The $6 million project began two years ago. Lotter said that once it is complete in summer or fall of 2014, the park will have five athletic fields and be capable of holding events attracting as many as 10,000 spectators.
Money for the project is coming from existing city parks department funds and Rebuild Indy funds. The latter came from revenue from the sale of the city’s water system to Citizens Energy Group.
“We’re talking about creating some of the most premier fields in the U.S., built to international standards, that can host these sports,” Lotter said. “We think this project helps cement the city’s reputation as a sports capital of the world.”Who the hell plays cricket in Indianapolis? "Cricket is not exceptionally strong in the U.S. right now," Ballard said. Yeah, no kidding. "I need to change that,” Ballard told a gathering in Hyderabad, Indianapolis’ sister city. "When people from around the world think of cricket, I want them to think of Indianapolis." Uh, no, you don't need to change that, Greg. You're ignoring your job one, which is supposed to be public safety. In case you haven't noticed, the City is on pace to record the greatest number of homicides since the record was set in 2006. Isn't it quite telling how closely he guards those Rebuild Indy funds whenever anybody proposes spending them on other projects, insisting they only be spent on infrastructure needs. Yet he's got $6 million to blow on this useless project?
Ballard has already scheduled a ninth overseas junket to Germany in September, a place he has already visited once. He plans a stop off in Italy to attend a Grand Prix event. Meanwhile, we hear that Develop Indy is refusing to release to the public information about the cost of these trips and the source of their funding despite the fact that it receives nearly $1.5 million in annual funding from the City. Ballard always defends them by claiming that no public tax dollars are used. Taxpayers have shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to cover the travel expenses of IMPD officers he insists on taking along with him on these overseas junkets despite the fact that nobody in these foreign countries has a clue who he is.
UPDATE: Here's a link to a story so you can see how this was covered in the India media where Ballard made today's announcement:
The U.S. city of Indianapolis known for its world-class infrastructure and hosting of international sporting events, is now building a cricket stadium and plans to invite top cricket teams from across the globe.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard on Tuesday said he was planning to host the United States Amateur Cricketing Championship next year at the new stadium.
"After that we will be searching opportunities to bring major teams from around the world. Cricket is not exceptionally strong in the U.S. right now. I need to change that. When people around the world think of cricket, I want them to think of Indianapolis," he told a meeting of business leaders organised here by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Hyderabad, which has a sister city pact with Indianapolis, was the first stop of the mayor and other business leaders.
Pointing out that Indianapolis already has a cricket field, Ballard said they were building another one.Who knew Indianapolis already had one cricket stadium?