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The Chicagoland community could become the sport of cricket

The Chicagoland community could become the sport of cricket

Who knew cricket was so popular in Illinois.

But an Oswego, Illinois-based businessman and a well-connected former cricketer of South African heritage hopes the former urban Chicago community will become a major attraction for both amateur and professional cricket, the second most watched sport (after soccer) in the world. .

The village of Oswego, population 34,000, is located about six miles southwest of Aurora and 50 miles west of downtown Chicago. It initially agreed to build a large cricket stadium that could accommodate 25,000 spectators.

The partially horseshoe-shaped facility, called Braeburn Stadium, will have three seating levels as well as parking, a hotel and a restaurant. The project will be built on 34 acres of farmland and will be fully financed by developer Paresh Patel of Chakra360 LLC.

The cricket venue will be built cautiously in phases, partly to determine the ability to attract teams and test the popularity of the venue.

The Illinois High School Athletic Association is investigating cricket as a high school sport. USA Cricket, the sanctioning body for Major League Cricket, has identified Chicagoland as a Midwest expansion center and professional league franchise. Furthermore, the International Olympic Committee has approved cricket for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.

DEWBERRY & VILLAGE OF OSWEGO — A profile photo shows the stadium’s “prairie style” design lowered to ground level.

Patel could not be reached for comment. But Oswego Mayor Ryan Coffman called this a “great opportunity” for the historical and bedroom community, not far from where Caterpillar’s manufacturing plant is located in Montgomery, Illinois.

“We believe it will encourage the development and expansion of businesses, including restaurants, hotels and various other services to the Orchard Road (North-South) corridor,” he said. “There are a lot of recreational leagues in the area and Parrish really wants to take this to the next level.”

The site has already been earmarked for “high intensity” development such as commercial and industrial development on the “well-trafficed” corridor, a fact sheet from the municipality said.

The stadium, designed by national architecture firm Dewberry, will actually attract less traffic than an industrial building operating six or seven days a week, as “off-peak” cricket will be played on evenings and weekends.

In terms of design, the stadium’s shape is “prairie style”, low to the ground, while “honoring the traditions and history” of the game.

The project will begin in phases, possibly starting next spring with a field, wicket and underground drainage tile with temporary drainage. Parking and clubhouse will follow in 2024, stormwater services and spectator seating for up to 2,000 people.

Additional stages will see up to 800 premium seating suites, regular seating up to 6,000, expanding to 14,000 to accommodate national cricket matches and eventually tiers two and three based on ‘future sanctioning’ of cricket events.

The mayor said: “The stages are determined by the economy and nothing else.” He said: “If the first stage succeeds, you move to the second stage, and if the second stage succeeds, you move to the third stage, and so on.”

But he said that the first three stages are “almost guaranteed.”

There are minor challenges, Kaufman said. Some sites are wetlands.

“I know there are physical or engineering challenges and that’s why there are buildings on part of the site. But I don’t think any of those challenges can’t be overcome or overcome relatively easily.”

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Community support “has been mixed,” the mayor said.

There was “pushback” from some residents of the Blackberry Knoll subdivision, just west. This relates to traffic during cricket matches and the fear of overflowing parking capacity.

“They’re not strongly supportive (but) overall there’s a level of excitement.”

The cricket season runs from April to October, but Kaufman said facilities such as the hotel and restaurant will be open year-round.

As an economic driver, Kaufman hopes the stadium will attract a Metra suburban train station extending south to Oswego, a project “the village has been pursuing for many years.”

Further development is planned for the area, including a large residential complex across the Tuscany Trail adjacent to the south side of the stadium. But the stadium could spur major future development of its own.

“There is a lot of undeveloped land and we believe the Orchard Road corridor (which connects North to Aurora and I-88) is the next hot spot for commercial and residential development,” the mayor said.

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