Move over pickleball: Phoenix plans to build new cricket fields
Ask and you shall receive. That's what the city of Phoenix told a group of cricket aficionados who've spent the past few months lobbying for better playing facilities.
What's happening: Phoenix city manager Jeff Barton has added $250,000 to his recommended budget for up to three cricket fields.
- The city will also consider expanding cricket to more sites, according to a staff report.
Zoom out: Cricket, a bat-and-ball game with English roots and a massive south Asian following, is seeing a surge in popularity across the country at both the amateur and professional levels.
- The Arizona Cricket Association boasts more than a dozen teams and plays at 11 parks statewide — most of which are in Chandler, according to the group's website.
- A Glendale developer announced plans to open a 20,000-seat cricket stadium in Buckeye last year.
- Additionally, the first Major League Cricket circuit in the U.S. will debut this summer.
What they're saying: "This will really help us play the sport properly and also help us with youth development for the sport," Arizona Cricket Association's Hassan Rafi told the council Tuesday.
- He said he hopes someday there will be dedicated cricket facilities like the ones the city maintains for baseball and soccer.
Between the lines: Barton added a handful of other resident recommendations to the proposed $1.9 billion general fund budget, including:
- $125,000 for park maintenance
- $250,000 to support affordable child care and early education
- $100,000 for a dedicated bike lane street sweeper
What's next: The City Council will take its first vote on the budget May 16 and will give final approval on June 14.
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