NORTH FORSYTH -- The construction of seven cricket fields off Keith Bridge Road in north Forsyth is underway after a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the property Oct. 21.
The property is located on 58 acres about three miles from Exit 17 off Ga. 400.
Metro-Atlanta, specifically north Fulton and south Forsyth, has a large number of cricket players who hail from all over the world, said Sriram Velicheti, one of the project’s organizers.
Cricket is an international bat-and-ball game largely played in Australia, the United Kingdom, India and the Caribbean.
The goal is to score runs, and the phases of plays are called innings, though the game is very different from baseball.
Velicheti said there is a huge demand for the sport in Atlanta, with the area boasting five leagues and 160 recreational and professional teams.
The teams’ lack of grounds was becoming increasingly dire, though, which is what prompted the project.
“Most of the time, we’d play on baseball grounds,” Velicheti said. “But we would only be given a Sunday morning time [slot]. So we said, ‘Why not have something that could bring together the social, cultural and recreational helix?’”
Velicheti especially stressed the social and cultural aspects the fields will bring to the community, also noting the property will have a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse.
The clubhouse will have changing rooms, a conference room, a concession stand and a 5,000-square- foot banquet hall to host events.
“This will [generate] significant foot traffic and development for the community,” he said. “The most exciting part is that the facility can be a hub of social, recreational and culture activities that not only [caters] to the development of the sport but brings families together. We also want to work with schools and Forsyth County’s parks and recreation to use it as soccer fields.”
Velicheti said the fields, once complete, will be the first officially dedicated cricket fields in the county, with the main field set to the international standard of 480 yards in diameter.
This would give teams the potential to work with the U.S. Cricket Association and create a southeastern league, generating even more foot traffic in the area.
Velicheti said there will be seven cricket grounds at the location.
With each game lasting about three and a half hours, four can be played daily, starting at 7 a.m.
This means the fields can potentially host 42-56 games per day, Velicheti said.
He said he expects the grounds to be open in March 2017 for the season that begins in April.
The clubhouse should be finished by July 2017.
District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, President and CEO of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce James McCoy and others attended the groundbreaking ceremony.