Fredericton to spend $280K upgrading cricket field

·3 min read
The City of Fredericton plans to spend $280,000 upgrading the cricket field at Lincoln Heights Park. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC - image credit)
The City of Fredericton plans to spend $280,000 upgrading the cricket field at Lincoln Heights Park. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC - image credit)

Fredericton's cricket lovers asked for it, and now they're getting it.

The city is spending $280,000 on renovations at the Lincoln Heights Park cricket field, which will involve smoothing it out, improving its drainage and installing a brand new pitch by next year, said Mike Walker, assistant director of engineering and operations with the city.

"This is a site that was built basically as a park, was used as a soccer field at one point," Walker said.

"So there's just some general grading that needs to happen to make it into a better usable field. There's some drainage work that needs to happen, and the cricket pitch itself is in need of replacement."

Last summer the city launched a feasibility study to better understand the sport's requirements and how to improve facilities.

The city hired Sierra Planning and Management to carry out the study. On Thursday, John Hack, a consultant with the company, told the city's livable community committee that the Lincoln Heights Field is heavily used, but is in relatively poor condition.

Sierra Planning and Management
Sierra Planning and Management

He also noted it's the only dedicated field in the city, and one of three in the province.

Walker said the $280,000 being spent on upgrading the field was set aside for that project when the city drafted its 2022 capital budget last year.

He said the work is expected to begin later this summer or early fall, with any remaining work to be finished next year.

The field will likely have to be closed while work is underway, he said.

Once completed, Walker said the regulation-size field will be capable of hosting tournaments.

Accommodating a more diverse population

Cricket is considered the second-most popular sport in the world, after soccer, with a large following in India, Pakistan and Australia.

With more newcomers settling in Fredericton in recent years, the demand to play cricket has grown, and it was time for the city to respond, said Coun. Eric Megarity, who's chair of the livable community committee.

"I'm glad it's happening," Megarity said. "And, and for the city, I think it will position it as, as a more of a cosmopolitan and a diversified city.

"You know, we're a very small city on the scale of things, but I mean... that's the whole part about inclusion, to include everybody and give everybody that sense of of belonging."

Megarity said the renovated Lincoln Heights Field could also make Fredericton the location of regional cricket tournaments.

"So that's an economic driver that'll bring more people to the city, is maybe some possible hotel nights and certainly some of our restaurants, or our local businesses will, will benefit from that."

Mrinali Anchan/CBC
Mrinali Anchan/CBC

More cricket fields recommended

As part of the report shared Thursday, Sierra Planning and Management recommended the city also consider converting the Fisher Field baseball diamond into a cricket field sometime within the next two to four years.

It also recommended the creation of a third cricket field in the next five to seven years on one of two suggested sites: land on Killarney Lake Park and a city-owned lot next to the Loyalist Rugby Club.

There's no commitment yet on either of those from the city, and Walker said it would likely be years before even the former recommendation is acted on.

"That recommendation… is tied in with the ball field study that was done a few years back, which recommended the construction of a new ball field complex… so it could be it could be many years before we're looking at doing something like that with Fisher Field," he said.

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