Knight Foundation supports new cricket field in Akron to connect diverse residents

A cricket tournament was held Labor Day weekend in Cascade Valley Metro Park.

There are an unknown number of crickets in the Metro Parks, and you can add one more to that lengthy list.

Early in the summer of 2017, Summit Metro Parks turned a soccer field into a cricket field in the Chuckery Area of Cascade Valley Metro Park (837 Cuyahoga St., Akron). The project followed months of discussions with North Hill residents who have come to Akron from places like Bhutan, Nepal and other South Asia countries, where the sport of cricket is popular.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supported the project with $8,000. It was completed in an area of the park owned by the city of Akron. The field is managed by the countywide park district.

Spectators watch a cricket match in Cascade Valley. In the background, a father and son participate in the park district’s Fall Hiking Spree program.

“Finding new ways to bring people together across backgrounds and income levels is important to creating a more successful Akron. This project is about community-building; it leverages one of our city’s great public spaces and encourages residents to connect with their city and each other,” said Kyle Kutuchief, Knight Foundation program director for Akron.

Cricket is most similar to the American sport of baseball. It is played with a bat and ball. At the center of the field is a rectangular pitch with a target called a wicket. Teams have one or two innings — depending on the type of match — to score the most runs.

The work in Cascade Valley centered around installing a pitch in the middle of the large field. It included removing existing turf and topsoil, pouring a 92-feet-long by 10-feet-wide concrete pad and laying artificial turf on top.

Cascade Valley, located north of downtown Akron, is one of 16 parks managed by Summit Metro Parks. At 548 acres, it includes a number of natural features including woods, hills and the winding Cuyahoga River, plus more than a dozen miles of hiking trails. Restrooms, picnic sites, locations for fishing and other sports fields round out the park’s offerings.

The Cuyahoga River winds through Cascade Valley Metro Park, located north of downtown Akron.
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