INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – City leaders feel a park designed for several international sports was worth every penny despite losing a big-ticket tournament.
The city pulled the plug on hosting the US National Cricket Championship last month. The 40 acre stretch of land isn’t finished, but the parks department says the cricket fields would have been ready in time for the August tournament.
Construction continues on the Gaelic fields which are on the far west end of the park. Those will be used for sports like rugby and hurling by August as well.
“It’s a beautiful facility, you know, with a lot of great green grass and a great neighborhood here on the east side,” said Marc Lotter, Communication Director of the Mayor’s Office.
Sporting a freshly trimmed pattern, the well-manicured turf is only a few boundary lines away from fielding an actual cricket match. But with the US National Cricket Tournament no longer being hosted at the park, it now simply needs teams willing to play on it.
“A lot of our premier soccer facilities in the city of Indianapolis are already at max capacity. We are running out of space and available dates to have people play,” he said.
The fields at the World Sports Park would help since they were designed to host several international sports besides just cricket. But some feel no matter how you cut it, the risk ended up surpassing the reward.
“They gambled with $6million of Indianapolis’ money and it didn’t work,” said Frank Mascari, City County Council for the 20th district.
He wasn’t always high on devoting millions for the park. The proof is hanging in the front of his jewelry shop with a sign that states “Cops, not cricket.” The phrase started a few years ago when people wanted to see Indianapolis Metro Police Department receive money from the Rebuild Indy Fund rather than it go towards the park.
“We did actually use some of the Rebuild money last year to fund the police officers, but it was $6million (for the park) that could have went elsewhere,” said Mascari.
Some suggestions for the money include fixing pothole ravaged roads and old sidewalks.
“But we have to deal with what we have. And we have a pretty nice sized park right now,” he added.
It’s a park the city hopes local sporting clubs can’t wait to take advantage of this summer.
“Whether that be in hurling, or cricket, or rugby, or soccer; that’s what we’re always looking for are great partners,” said Lotter.