Greg Ballard: We can’t afford sidewalks (but we can afford a cricket park)

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard

In a Wish-TV news story on a fatal hit-and-run car/pedestrian accident, Mayor Greg Ballard was asked why there are no sidewalks on those streets where there is considerable foot traffic and where this accident and several other pedestrian fatalities have occurred over the years. In response, he said that we need about $800 million dollars worth of work on sidewalks in Indianapolis, and that the city “just doesn’t have enough money to put sidewalks everywhere we want them.”

As I mentioned in a previous post [Mayor Ballard wants cricket venue in Indy, but can we afford it?] Ballard is diverting $6 million dollars from the Department of Public Works funding that fixes broken bridges and crumbling infrastructure to build a cricket facility on the eastside of town, despite the fact that the Indy Parks system has failed repeatedly to maintain basic maintenance on the public parks we already own. But this cricket thing has been a fixation for Greg Ballard since he originally took office, so it’s not surprising that what the Imperial Mayor wants, he gets.

According to the Indy Star, contracts have already been awarded to begin building the controversial park.

In today’s “We Are City” newsletter is this little gem that appears to be promoting this cricket park:

Four? Six? or Out? Even though this is how most Americans view cricket, there are an increasing number of people who view cricket a little differently, and even as an American sport. Perhaps that’s why the Indianapolis Board of Public Works is moving ahead with plans for a 50-acre world sports complex on the far eastside. The complex would eventually include facilities for gaelic football, rugby, hurling, and cricket. / tag: sports, international / JB

That little write up gives me pause about “We Are City” and makes me want to take a closer look at who the folks involved in that group are, and how their bread is buttered.

Continue ReadingGreg Ballard: We can’t afford sidewalks (but we can afford a cricket park)

Mayor Ballard wants cricket venue in Indy, but can we afford it?

Taggart Memorial
Taggart Memorial Disrepair, courtesy zoesdare, CC license.

In a move that recalls his repeated “We need a chinatown in Indianapolis” public gaffe from early in his first term, Greg Ballard told business leaders in India today that he wants to build a cricket venue in Indianapolis [Ballard wants cricket venue in Indy, he tells business leaders in India., Indianapolis Star]:

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has told business leaders in India that he plans to build a cricket “stadium” in the Circle City and make the city a prime venue for international cricket events, according to an article today in The Times of India.

But the mayor was referring, a spokesman says, to an existing cricket field and plans to develop a $5.8 million, nearly 50-acre World Sports Park on the city’s Far-Eastside by fall 2014. The plans don’t include permanent seating, but temporary bleachers could seat thousands for events.

“Cricket is not exceptionally strong in the U.S. right now,” Ballard said in India today, according to the Times story. “I need to change that. When people around the world think of cricket, I want them to think of Indianapolis.”

As Louis Mahern helpfully points out, “During the Ballard administration spending on Indy Parks has fallen by 34% and he wants to build a cricket venue. What sort of alternate universe does this guy occupy?”

Indeed – among the many problems with the Indianapolis public park system, during the last few years, Indy has closed a popular public skating rink in Ellenberger Park, allowed an historical monument to an important Indianapolis public figure – Taggart Memorial in Riverside Park – to fall into disrepair and to land on Indiana Landmark’s 10 Most Endangered List, and repeated let the city parks fall behind on (2009) general upkeep of basic services like mowing (2012). We had a heck of a time getting a commitment from the Parks Department to repair the boathouse roof last summer at the Indianapolis Rowing Center, and there are undoubtedly dozens of other examples that could be provided by city residents who make common use of our public parks throughout the year.

So why would we suddenly spend this money on a sport that not many Hoosiers are actively engaged in?

Continue ReadingMayor Ballard wants cricket venue in Indy, but can we afford it?