Work on Orange Township's unique new park will continue this summer as officials eye an opening next year.
Construction on the $4.3 million North Road Park -- as it is currently called -- began last year.
Once completed, the 22-acre site near the intersection of North and Lewis Center roads, just east of Olentangy High School, will include five full-size soccer fields, and, in a first for the township, a cricket pitch.
Cricket, a game with origins that date at least back to 1500s England, spread throughout the British empire and gained converts in nations such as Australia, India and South Africa.
The game, in which batsmen attempt to score after striking a ball thrown by a bowler, is similar to baseball. Both games are played in innings ended by a set number of outs, feature a pitcher backed by defensive teammates, and include multiple umpires.
Unlike baseball, cricket is played on a oval-shaped grassy field with a narrow, 22-yard-long strip known as the pitch at the center. Bowlers and batsmen face off on the pitch, which is surrounded by 10 fielders.
Township leaders previously said the area's residents of Indian descent have been asking for a cricket pitch for years, not only for the adults who play, but to get children interested in the sport.
But the new park will be about more than cricket.
"By this fall, we will have restrooms, concessions and three shelters," said Barrett Ault, chairwoman of the township's parks board. "We are hoping by spring of 2019 to be able to use it full service."
A final phase of construction next year will include a playground.
One shelter will house the concession stand, while the other two will be available for residents to reserve, said Lisa Knapp, chairwoman of the township's board of trustees.
A two-sided fireplace and a rain garden will be built between the shelters, Knapp said.
The park has been "a very long time in coming," Knapp said. "This will be the first developed park in the northern part of the township."
Township leaders initially hoped to open the park this year, but the fields need to be reseeded.
"We were hoping to be able to play by this fall, but with the spring that we had, it was so cold that the seeds just weren't able to germinate enough," Ault said.
When the park does open, its fields will be "top-notch," she said. "I think it's going to turn into a great soccer complex."
The park will have enough space to host 10 soccer teams playing simultaneously, which could make it a draw for tournaments and large events, Ault said.
The fields can be broken down into smaller areas for youth players.
They will be irrigated largely through a system installed in a retention pond on the southeast corner of the site, expected to save "thousands of dollars in labor and water costs," Knapp said.
It's expected to help provide drainage, meaning the fields won't need to close for being too wet, she said.
Ault said the parks board would like to have some type of naming contest or a public vote to help decide what to call the park after it opens, although details are being worked out.
Ultimately, the name will be decided by township trustees, who would have to approve any type of contest.
The park is funded through revenue generated from a 1-mill township parks levy.
Delaware County hopes to complete construction next year on a roundabout at the intersection of North and Lewis Center roads, near the park. A portion of Lewis Center Road also will be widened.
Plans also call for a multiuse trail to be installed along North Road that connects to the township trail system.