DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – An offer by Chevrolet to fix up the baseball diamond at the former Tiger Stadium site for use by youth ballplayers has been turned down as Detroit officials hope for a major redevelopment project instead.
The diamond is all that remains since the ballpark was torn down two years ago. Chevrolet says it has plenty of employees willing to take care of the field on a volunteer basis so kids can play there.
The city has been hoping to find a developer who will find a new use for the corner of Michigan and Trumbull.
George Jackson, president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., says potential developers would not want to get involved in redevelopment of the site if it meant dislodging a community or youth baseball league. The site offers freeway access, Jackson noted, making it appealing to retailers who would draw from beyond the immediate Corktown neighborhood.
Chevrolet said their offer remains on the table if the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. changes its mind.
The decision to reject Chevrolet’s offer opened an old wound for those who tried and failed to preserve Tiger Stadium. Members of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy hope to maintain some vestige of baseball at the site despite the city’s hopes a redevelopment project.
“It is disappointing,” said Thomas Linn, president of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy.
Much of the stadium was torn down in 2008, but a section extending roughly from dugout to dugout was left standing while the conservancy sought to put together financing to redevelop the partially destroyed ballpark as a commercial building with a field for youth and amateur baseball.
The Detroit Economic Development Corp. board rejected the plan, and the rest of the stadium was torn down.
Tiger Stadium opened in 1912 as Navin Field. The Tigers left for Comerica Park after the 1999 season. The last portion of the stadium was demolished in 2009.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.