Let's see if they actually ever get around to putting the thing out of its misery.
Robin Buckson / The Detroit News
After demolition, the site could be used as a mixed-use site for retail and residential projects, with construction beginning in April 2009.
Tiger Stadium outta here by '08
June 08, 2007
Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News
Old Tiger Stadium has moved one step closer to its final date with the wrecking ball.
A plan approved by city economic development officials on calls for the famous but moldering ballpark at Michigan and Trumbull to be razed by September 2008, with most of the historic baseball diamond preserved. Seats and other stadium memorabilia will be sold off.
The plan, approved Wednesday, gives a nonprofit group called The Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy until late July to find a feasible approach -- complete with financing -- to preserve part of the stadium. The nonprofit is trying to find a way to save Tiger Stadium's main entrance behind home plate.
The plan now heads back before the City Council. Most members, along with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and an influential Corktown neighborhood organization, have endorsed the general concepts. Given the looming deadlines, economic development officials anticipate the City Council will approve the plan soon.
"This is the most concrete, most specific plan that has gotten the farthest along in terms of city backing," said Ron Flies, vice president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. and project manager of what's officially known as the Tiger Stadium Property Redevelopment Plan.
Flies said Kilpatrick publicly endorsed the project's concept last year and the City Council authorized the general project about two months ago. City economic officials have also been meeting with the Corktown neighborhood group to get their input.
The plan approved Wednesday by the city's Economic Growth Corp. calls for the stadium structure to be demolished by September 2008, if the conservancy doesn't come up with a plan to save the front entrance. The site would be used as a mixed-use site for retail and residential project, with new construction to begin in April 2009. Parts of the baseball diamond -- the infield and most of the outfield -- will become a public field.
"Detroit's really got a unique opportunity," said Jeff Wattrick, head of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, which grew out of the Greater Corktown Development Corp. "You look at what's happened to so many of the older ballparks and nothing is left of them and that's just a waste. And after so much effort and debate, hats off to the mayor and the city development people for listening."
The Detroit Tigers moved to Comerica Park in 1999 and Tiger Stadium has remained vacant since. Many notions on what to do with it have come and gone since the park -- opened five days after the Titanic sank in 1912 -- closed Sept. 27, 1999.
Some sounded grand. Most weren't feasible or lacked financing. Among the plans: Concerts, soccer games, lofts, shopping courtyards and serious consideration by the Canadian Football League to put a franchise in the stadium.
The sale of the seats and other memorabilia could take place this fall. The seats will be sold in pairs for $247 a pair; other memorabilia has not yet been selected or priced.
Stadium demolition, estimated to cost $1.6 million, could take up to a year. Money would come from the state's Clean Michigan Initiative and city brownfield tax credits.
You can reach Louis Aguilar at (313) 222-2760 or email@example.com.