Sports: Field of Dreams- Southeast- May 2003
"A Caribbean cricket game is like a big bazaar," says Chandradath Singh, the former consul for Trinidad and Tobago and a longtime cricket enthusiast. "There is a lot of partying before the game, lots of fun and frolic."
Popular in England and exported to all of the United Kingdom's colonies, the game has taken hold in Broward County as the area's West Indian population has surged. It's played for the most part on modified baseball and soccer fields, but pressure for a genuine cricket ground has been growing for years.
Now a $400-million county parks bond is close to delivering what its backers hope will be the site of at least some 2007 World Cup cricket matches. County parks officials are working with Lauderhill to develop a 97-acre park and world-class cricket grounds.
Lauderhill, home to a large population of immigrants from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, has hired Singh to put together a bid for the World Cup games. To qualify, Lauderhill's cricket ground will have to be perfect.
Singh believes that Lauderhill has a reasonable chance of success because south Florida is already a proven venue for large-scale sporting events like the Super Bowl.
This year's World Cup matches, played in South Africa, drew more than 200,000 in advance ticket sales and had an estimated worldwide television audience of 1.6 billion. Lauderhill's efforts also coincide with the London-based International Cricket Council and the U.S. Cricket Association's "Project USA" to promote cricket in the U.S. over the next four years.
Lauderhill officials envision a Caribbean marketplace and perhaps consulate offices adjoining the cricket grounds. But mostly, says City Attorney Earl Hall, it will be a place that local cricket enthusiasts can finally call their own. The demand, he says, is obvious. "People are playing cricket in whatever space they can get their hands on," Hall says. "I've driven past on the weekends and seen men playing cricket behind City Hall."
IN THE NEWS
BROWARD COUNTY -- Year-round scheduling at five elementary and middle schools and extended classes and tutoring at two high schools may be threatened by a county budget deficit projected to be between $3 million and $13 million.
County workforce development officials, local educators and private employers are discussing ways to recoup the more than 4,000 jobs the county lost in the past year.
North Carolina-based Thomasville Furniture is moving into Broward and Palm Beach counties with stores planned for Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. The first of six locations owned and operated by the Hendricks Furniture Group opened in January in Fort Lauderdale.
DAVIE -- House and Senate budgets leave out funding for a proposal by Gov. Jeb Bush to move the state library's circulating collection to Nova Southeastern University, effectively killing the plan.
FORT LAUDERDALE -- City commissioners have approved a $3.3-million contract with Pompano Beach-based Hewett-Kier Construction to build a 36,600-sq.-ft. office building to house the city's planning and zoning, building, construction services and code-enforcement departments.
AutoNation (NYSE-AN) will replace Rational Software Corp., which is being bought by IBM, on the S&P 500 index.
A U.S. District Court judge ordered bulletproof vest maker Point Blank Body Armor to reinstate workers who have been on strike since August. Judge Kenneth A. Marra also ordered the company to rehire three employees who alleged they were fired for participating in union organizing. Meanwhile, the company is making plans to open a second plant in Deerfield Beach.
BankAtlantic Bancorp (NYSE-BBX), based in Fort Lauderdale, plans to spin off its real estate subsidiary, Levitt Corp., into a publicly traded company.
HOLLYWOOD -- Suspended Seminole Chairman James E. Billie was removed from his job by a unanimous vote of the four-member tribal council. Billie, however, plans to run to get his job back when new elections are held this month.
A $70-million redevelopment of downtown Young Circle is moving forward with an agreement for a 300-unit condominium and retail project on 2.2 acres.
LAUDERDALE LAKES -- Sporting goods retailer Sports Authority (NYSE-TSA) will merge with rival Gart Sports Co. and move its headquarters to Englewood, Colo. Broward County will lose nearly 600 jobs as a result.
PEMBROKE PINES -- City commissioners have agreed to give residents preference in admissions to its popular charter school system. Siblings of current students will also be given priority.
PLANTATION -- Call center operator Precision Response Corp. and Fort Lauderdale investment firm New River Capital Partners are in arbitration over a dispute centered on PRC's purchase of an e-learning software company in 2001. PRC claims New River sold it a failing company. New River claims the failure was the result of PRC's lack of support.
PORT EVERGLADES -- A consortium of shipping companies that provides refrigerated service to South America has moved its operations from the Port of Miami-Dade to Port Everglades. The Americas Service consortium is expected to bring 50,000 cargo containers a year to Port Everglades. Miami-Dade officials complain the move is another example of regional business raiding.
RIVIERA BEACH -- Miami-based Party Cruise Line has announced plans to begin daily ferry service this month between the Port of Palm Beach and Freeport Harbour on Grand Bahama Island aboard its 367-passsenger Cloud X.
SEBASTIAN - For the past 100 years, the only way to see Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge was by boat. But this spring, the refuge and Indian River County opened new public facilities on refuge lands that include a hiking trail and observation tower to view Pelican Island from the mainland. "Centennial Trail" was opened as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System's 100th birthday; the trail's boardwalk includes the names of all 535 refuges in the country. President Theodore Roosevelt established Pelican Island as the first on March 14, 1903.
SUNRISE -- City commissioners have approved plans for a 120,000-sq.-ft. indoor amusement center at the Sawgrass Mills shopping mall.
WESTON -- A golf course owner has sued the city to retain his right to replace a 100-acre golf course with new homes. The course, one of two at the Bonaventure Country Club, became part of Weston in 1997 but had retained a county land-use designation that would have allowed development. In January, city officials redesignated the course to require that it remain as open space and recreation.
WEST PALM BEACH -- Construction is expected to begin this month on a long-awaited four-story, 45,000-sq.-ft. children's hospital at St. Mary's Medical Center. The $6-million facility is expected to be completed in 2004. The hospital is being built in partnership with golf legend Jack Nicklaus and will be supported in part by revenue from the Honda Classic golf tournament.
NEW TERMITE WORRIES
DANIA BEACH -- A Caribbean tree-dwelling termite previously unseen in the U.S. has descended on a 50-acre parcel here, prompting a quick eradication effort by state and university entomologists. Though voracious eaters, Nasutitermes costalis is considered relatively easy to eliminate because of its visible above-ground nests.
BOCA RATON -- Former Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan has stepped into the job of FAU president under a six-year, $290,000-a-year contract. Brogan is urging a speedy resolution to an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into a $42,000 gift from FAU's foundation to former FAU President Anthony Catanese, who left the university to become president of Florida Institute of Technology.