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Cricket field project OK’d in Indianapolis

– Plans to build fields in a city park for cricket matches and other sports mainly popular overseas are advancing after an Indianapolis board approved the first contract for the $6 million project.

The city’s Board of Public Works awarded the contract, clearing the way for work to start in a far-eastside park on a project that Republican Mayor Greg Ballard has promoted as a way to increase the city’s international appeal.

The nearly 50-acre complex is expected to be completed in fall 2014, and will have five multiuse fields that will also accommodate lacrosse, Gaelic football, rugby and hurling. The plan doesn’t include any permanent seating.

Ballard has said the project will serve niche sports popular among the city’s growing immigrant communities. Ballard spoke during a trip to India last month about his goal of establishing Indianapolis as a cricket capital.

City officials said the World Sports Park will include fields that could be reconfigured regularly, with temporary stands brought in for larger events.

“I believe this serves a need we have in our community as far as field sports,” Indy Parks Director John Williams said.