Jun 5, 2009
Help save a beloved and historic gem
Tom Stanton, author of the book “The Final Season: Fathers, Sons, and One Last Season in a Classic American Ballpark,” said it best when he wrote “Old buildings bring life to stories. They put a foundation to memories.”
Those memories may soon be torn down after a near secret decision earlier this week by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) to demolish what’s left of beautiful and historic Tiger Stadium in the next couple weeks, dashing the hopes, dreams and hard work of the all-volunteer Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy and baseball fans all over the world. Apparently, the meeting where the decision took place occurred with little notice, and no one from the Conservancy was there to speak for the historic stadium that holds millions of cherished memories for generations of Michiganders and former Michiganders.
The Conservancy had hopes to preserve what’s left of the historic stadium at the most famous location in sports at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull, just a dugout-to-dugout section, into a $27 million redevelopment project. The remaining stadium would be converted to commercial space and a community center. The playing field would be renovated for youth and high school baseball and community events. Renovated Tiger Stadium will include museum quality exhibits, a banquet hall and retail. Fans will be able to explore the clubhouses, dugouts and the broadcast booth. The most exciting feature that will bring visitors from all over the world to the Stadium and Detroit will be the Harwell Museum.
Beloved and Hall of Fame former Tiger’s broadcaster Ernie Harwell has an extensive and priceless baseball memorabilia collection that is second only to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown he wants to display at the Stadium.
If the DEGC is successful in demolishing the stadium, the Conservancy will lose seven years of hard work and the $22 million they have secured thus far in federal earmarks, grants, and tax credits and the city will lose the jobs the project would create. But far more importantly, baseball fans will lose one of the city’s – and the nation’s – historic gems, creating yet another vacant, blighted space in Detroit.
Thom Linn, President of Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, said there is strong, widespread support for the project, from stadium neighbors in Detroit’s historic Corktown to the entire metro region and beyond. The public outcry over the DEGC’s action has even reached the national news: On Wednesday night on his MSNBC show, Keith Olbermann expressed his outrage about it. Why the city’s leadership made this bad and shortsighted decision is unclear.
Could you imagine the outcry if anyone tried to demolish the beautiful Capitol Building in Lansing, the Fox Theatre or the historic Livingston County Courthouse? Then why are we giving up something with so many pleasant memories so easily?
It’s not too late, and if you love Tiger Stadium like I do then contact the city’s leaders, the state’s leaders and the media and tell them not to destroy memories, history and jobs.
Here is a list of contacts:
-Detroit Mayor David Bing, 313- 224-3400 (9am-5pm)
-all Detroit City Council members
-Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. 313-224-4505 Kenneth.Cockrel@http://www.facebook.com/l/;detroitmi.gov
-Monica Conyers 313-224-4530 ConyersM@http://www.facebook.com/l/;cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us
-Sheila Cockrel 313-224-1337 S-Cockrel_mb@http://www.facebook.com/l/;ckrl.ci.detroit.mi.us
-Barbara Rose Collins 313-224-1299 Collins_MB@http://www.facebook.com/l/;cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us
-Brenda Jones 313-224-1245 bjones_mb@http://www.facebook.com/l/;cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us
-Kwame Kenyatta 313-224-1198 K-Kenyatta_MB@http://www.facebook.com/l/;cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us
-Martha Reeves 313-224-4510 m-reeves_MB@http://www.facebook.com/l/;cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us
-Alberta Tinsley Talabi 313-224-1645 A_Talabi_mb@http://www.facebook.com/l/;atwpo.ci.detroit.mi.us
-JoAnn Watson 313-224-4535 WatsonJ@http://www.facebook.com/l/;cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us
-Governor Jennifer Granholm (517) 373-3400
-news media of your choice; for starters:
Detroit Free Press –
-City Desk 313-222-6600
-Jim Wilhelm, City Desk Editor 313-222-6521 jwilhelm@http://www.facebook.com/l/;freepress.com
-Front desk 313-222-2300
-Nolan Finley, Editorial Page Editor 313-222-2064
-Walter Middlebrook, Assistant Managing Editor/Metro (313) 222-2429