Friday, May 30, 2014

Ballard's Five-Year Dream of Cricket Tournament in Indianapolis Done

As early as 2009, Mayor Greg Ballard was on the record as having communication with the USA Cricket Association.

The Mayor met with the organization then and they seemed to know more about the World Sports Park than anyone in city-county government beyond the Indy Parks Dept. at that time.  The World Sports Park was a long dormant plan that Ballard decided to push aggressively.

He found the money to do the park in the Rebuild Indy funds that were more meant for sidewalk and street repairs than building a World Sports Park on Post Road...even far away from the concentration of folks that might actually use it.

When public support started to fade, the Mayor and his minions pointed out that Indy would be feeling the great economic impact of the U.S. Cricket Championships.  When it was revealed earlier this week that the USACA had reached more financial problems than you could shake a stick at, the response from the Mayors Office was that hotel rooms had been booked and the show would go on!  In other words...

Well, console the Mayor if you see him tonight.  His dreams of hosting the US Cricket Championships have ended.  The CITY not the USACA has canceled the contract to host the National Cricket Championships, but don't worry.  The (now listed as) $5.1 million sports park will be finished on time for absolutely nothing.

Here is the news release from the city:

City Cancels Contract for National Cricket Championship 
INDIANAPOLIS- Today the City of Indianapolis notified the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) of its decision to terminate its agreement to host the US National Cricket Championships at the World Sports Park. The City is taking this step after months without adequate communication that was jeopardizing the success of the tournament scheduled to begin in August. 
“Indy greatly values its well-earned reputation of hosting outstanding national and international sporting events. The decision was made to cancel the tournament because factors outside of the city’s control were putting our ability to host a successful tournament at risk,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “The City looks forward to helping grow cricket in the United States and also using the World Sports Park to showcase many other great sports such as soccer, rugby and lacrosse.” 
This decision will not impact development of the Indy World Sports Park located in a 40-acre section of the Post Road Community Park on Indy’s eastside. The $5.1 million park features multiple athletic fields with premiere turf designed to host a number of sports such as: soccer, rugby, hurling, cricket and lacrosse. Park improvements include multi-sport athletic fields, new parking, sidewalks and a walking path. Construction is expected to conclude in August. A copy of the letter to USACA from the City of Indianapolis can be found here.

The truly sad thing is that for just about four years there have been questions about how the USACA has been run.  A simple Google search by the Mayor's Office would have turned up more than enough information from inside sources and mainstream outlets to have at least raised an eyebrow about this organization.  It's the same kind of Google search that would have spared this Mayor's Office embarrassment over the Litebox deal.  What's that saying?  Fool me once, shame on you...Fool me twice, shame on me?

Indianapolis did not do its due diligence on this, and it cost the taxpayers money that Mayor Ballard wanted to have for a pet project for which almost no one saw the need.


Paul K. Ogden said...

On Thursday, Jon Easter pens an article suggesting that Indianapolis may have to cancel the national cricket championship to be held at the new cricket park. On Friday, that prediction comes true. Coincidence? I don't think so.

johnnystir . said...

You were on the story in March, Paul.

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