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Councilor raises questions about cricket group's track record

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The USA Cricket Association, a group that Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard hopes will bring high-level competition to a new $6 million local sports park, staged zero national tournaments in 2012.

The organization also lost funding from the International Cricket Council because it violated governance rules, according to ESPNcricinfo.

Officials in Broward County Florida have blamed a lack of success at their cricket stadium — the only internationally certified venue in the United States — on a lack of cooperation from USA Cricket.

That information is well-known to Indianapolis officials, said David Ladd, who is the volunteer “ambassador” for Ballard’s cricket initiative, which dates back to 2009, and the Indianapolis World Sports Park, which is being designed for lacrosse and hurling, among other sports. Yet, Ladd is still hopeful that Indianapolis will land a national or international event to the far-east-side park. He said he’s met with USA Cricket’s new executive director, Darren Beazley, several times since Beazley’s appointment early this year.

“He’s got a new attitude, a new approach. He’s got a good relationship with the ICC,” Ladd said.

Beazley, based in Lake Worth, Fla., did not return phone messages. He told the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel in April that the Broward County venue shouldn’t expect more than one or two international matches a year because teams have postseason commitments around the world.

“If we’re dependent on them, I’m worried,” said Republican City-County Councilor Christine Scales, a caucus renegade who co-sponsored with Democratic Majority Leader Vernon Brown a proposal to use $6 million from the Rebuild Indy fund to hire a new class of police recruits.

Scales said she expects Ballard to veto the proposal, but she signed on as a co-sponsor to make a point about the administration’s spending priorities. She sent Ballard’s staff a barrage of questions about the city’s relationship with USA Cricket on Friday.

Director of Enterprise Development David Rosenberg’s response was to shift the emphasis away from cricket, Scales said. In a presentation to the Republican caucus before the council met Monday night, Rosenberg noted that every field in the World Sports Park will also accommodate soccer.

He also pointed out that Indianapolis is competing with communities like Westfield, which is building a massive youth sports complex, Scales said.

Scales said she still has questions about how much Indianapolis will have to spend to bring major events to the park and how the city will cover those expenses.

Ladd said USA Cricket’s fees and other requirements are a matter of negotiation, which will be headed up by Jen Pittman, deputy director of the parks department. Pittman could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning.

Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter also could not be reached for comment.

Sports marketing consultant David Morton said USA Cricket’s track record is “bothersome to some extent,” but he said he thinks it can be surmounted if the city works closely with the Indiana Sports Corp.

The city needs a strategy to address the fact that corporate sponsors generally do not take an interest in sports with low rates of domestic participation, Morton said.

“They need a business plan,” he said.

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  • Very Sad
    Pretty sad when the Mayor thinks more of the Indian population here in Indianapolis than he does for the safety of the citizens of our city.That plus putting money in Keystones pockets is really what this is al about The Democrats will have a field day with this one. After this and Ballard's involvement with Keystone coming out,Ballard will not be electable. Id be nervous if I was Ballard,Hoggsett has very long arms and knows where all of Ballard's bones are buried.
  • Cricket stadium
    I sincerely hope this is a joke. Is Indy going to become the home to all obscure sports or just the home of ridiculous investments? Lucas Oil had several million dollars in budgeting issues, but somehow a cricket stadium will profit?? Use your head people. This is dumb. This is an awful idea. Does our leadership really entertain these ideas? Please tell me this is a deflection technique to distract us from some other issue of much greater importance. Perhaps the person selling this idea to the City of Indianapolis might also have some magic beans for sale. Let me know.
  • Wow
    You clearly do not understand the aspect of policing. Just because you see things on tv or have seen officers enforcing traffic as you drive, is no indication on how police work is done. Everyone seems to know so much about police work. Maybe they should go and critique you at your job; that is if you have one. Maybe you should try to educate yourself on their manpower staffing and than formulate an intelligent comment.
  • Indy
    Sounds like you need driving lessons if you're getting that many tickets moron.
  • Wha?
    I agree we probably don't need a cricket stadium, but we don't need more police either. We need the ones we have to work on public safety in the neighborhoods that need it instead of pulling people over for minor speeding tickets. When the police start ticketing for litter, failure to stop (right on red glide through), failure to signal, etc., then they can complain about needing more officers. We have so many wrecks in this city because of *terrible* drivers on the road and they cause a lot more of a problem than going 5 over in a 35. So to Shakka, get a grip. Let me know how 6,000,000.00 dollars in new recruits will make our police *better* at enforcing the existing laws.
    • Less cops,more crickets
      I see that Ballard will now Veto hiring any more cops so his friends at Keystone construction can build the new Cricket Stadium.Its all about the $ going to Ballard's buddies. He said that Public Safety was job one..he lied.
      • The Litebox of Sports
        Hmmm... zero tournaments in 2012... lack of funding... an exec with grand plans and promises... This sounds like the Litebox of sports. Bob Yanagihara fooled you the first time around Ballard. Don't let it happen a second time with USA Cricket
      • if you can dodge a wrench...
        you can dodge a dodgeball.
      • Cricket
        Dodgeball is my sport yet we are not asking for a "world class" stadium. No one comes and neither will anyone for cricket

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        1. Really, taking someone managing the regulation of Alcohol and making himthe President of an IVY Tech regional campus. Does he have an education background?

        2. Jan, great rant. Now how about you review the report and offer rebuttal of the memo. This might be more conducive to civil discourse than a wild rant with no supporting facts. Perhaps some links to support your assertions would be helpful

        3. I've lived in Indianapolis my whole and been to the track 3 times. Once for a Brickyard, once last year on a practice day for Indy 500, and once when I was a high school student to pick up trash for community service. In the past 11 years, I would say while the IMS is a great venue, there are some upgrades that would show that it's changing with the times, just like the city is. First, take out the bleachers and put in individual seats. Kentucky Motor Speedway has individual seats and they look cool. Fix up the restrooms. Add wi-fi. Like others have suggested, look at bringing in concerts leading up to events. Don't just stick with the country music genre. Pop music would work well too I believe. This will attract more young celebrities to the Indy 500 like the kind that go to the Kentucky Derby. Work with Indy Go to increase the frequency of the bus route to the track during high end events. That way people have other options than worrying about where to park and paying for parking. Then after all of this, look at getting night lights. I think the aforementioned strategies are more necessary than night racing at this point in time.

        4. Talking about congestion ANYWHERE in Indianapolis is absolutely laughable. Sure you may have to wait in 5 minutes of traffic to travel down BR avenue during *peak* times. But that is absolutely nothing compared to actual big cities. Indy is way too suburban to have actual congestion problems. So please, never bring up "congestion" as an excuse to avoid development in Indianapolis. If anything, we could use a little more.

        5. Oh wait. Never mind.

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