USA November 9, 2007

5,000 seater cricket ground opens in Florida

A $70m park has opened in southern Florida – the most expensive new park in the state – including a 5,000 seater cricket ground, the first of its kind in the United States

A $70m park has opened in southern Florida – the most expensive new park in the state – including a 5,000 seater cricket ground, the first of its kind in the United States.

"It was just a vacant lot, nothing here," Bill Kristen, the county parks and recreation project manager, told sun-sentinel.com. "I think everybody realized the area had to be revitalised."

The Central Broward Regional Park opens officially tomorrow, where local residents will watch exhibition matches for football, cricket and American football

Cost overruns almost killed the project in 2006. The contractor sought as much as $15.3 million more than the $35.5 million the county originally agreed to pay for construction. But cost-saving alterations, such as building a vehicle storage garage underneath the bleachers, helped lower the cost overruns. The county in December agreed to pay the remaining $7.5 million, and work resumed. In total, the county paid about $70 million for land and construction, the most it has paid to open a park, said Bob Harbin, Broward park director.

Some black Americans opposed the park, saying it was too Caribbean-focused. And one housing development planned for north of the park, St. James Luxury Town Homes, was canceled because of the soft real estate market. Construction of Georgetown Homes has slowed for the same reason.

Read the full story (and watch a video of the park) at their website.

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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