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?

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