Tiger Stadium Demolition Resumes


Detroit's Tiger Stadium on June 6, 2009

Credit: Karen Nagher

Demolition crews are tearing down Tiger Stadium for the third time within a year. But this time, they won't stop until it's gone.

Despite a protest at Tiger Stadium last week, Detroit contractors began razing the 1923 structure the following day. Late Friday afternoon, a judge issued a temporary restraining order, which should have halted all destruction, but crews continued demolition until the end of the day.

On Monday Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards lifted the restraining order and rejected the conservancy's request for the injunction.

"[Demolition crews] were out there an hour after the decision. They didn't waste any time," says Michael Kirk, vice president of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, which requested a permanent injunction to halt the demolition. "We don't understand it. There's no other development deal pending for the site, so the need for speed doesn't make any sense."

City attorneys argued that the conservancy could not raise enough for the $27 million construction project to retain Navin Field, the oldest part of the existing stadium complex.

Going to Bat for Tiger Stadium

The National Trust for Historic Preservation included Tiger Stadium on its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 1991 and 1992. After the National Trust added the historic buildings of downtown Detroit to the 2005 list, its Midwest Office helped establish the Greater Detroit Preservation Coalition to coordinate the many preservation organizations working to preserve buildings in the city's core.

"It is sad to see Detroit again choosing demolition over creative use of an iconic piece of its history. Only if the City has a shovel-ready use for the site should demolition be considered at this time," says Royce Yeater, Midwest Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Since the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy was making real progress toward their goals, they should be given every opportunity to succeed."

Plans to demolish the remaining section of the old stadium were set back in motion after a 7-1 vote on Tuesday, June 2, by the board of Detroit's Economic Development Corporation. Waymon Guillebreaux, executive vice president, said in a statement last week that the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy "is still far short of its targets" agreed upon in a memorandum of understanding with the city that was signed last fall and claimed the conservancy did not have "secure commitments for funding the project."

The board acted despite $3.8 million earmarked by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy's plan; an identified $19 million from new market, "brownfield," and state and federal historic tax credits (some of which were already applied for and approved); and $500,000 in grants, loans and private donations.

"Right now I'm incredibly discouraged," says Karen Nagher, executive director of Preservation Wayne, based in Detroit. "[City lawyers] painted a very bleak picture that made it sound like the conservancy hasn't done anything."

Detroit's Field of Dreams

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Submitted by Detroit Tigers!!! at: May 8, 2010
Tigers stadium hold a lot of history...It's sad to see any Historical site go down rather it be Historical by the state or we the fans believe it is. A lot of great playes played there I they should leave some of it up....like stated before I thought they were leaving half of it up for mini leagues to play.

Submitted by always remember at: July 27, 2009
Typical detroit tear down everything. just another vacant lot for trash dumping. Nothing will ever become of the land in a 100yrs. The place will be lucky to have a plaque to remind future generations what was there. If detroit does not save its history it will never be a world class city again.Who wants to visit a city that has no history.

Submitted by tigesfan at: July 16, 2009
you tiger stadium haters must not have attended any games there. you were too busy playing with your barbie dolls or jacks. you should be happy now. your neighborhood is next to go.

Submitted by anti-detroit hater at: June 22, 2009
tear it down, next go to the jim louis arena and get that also please

Submitted by Josh at: June 18, 2009
I'm amazed at how ridiculous some of you sound, It is never a good idea to remove significant structures from a city. There are plenty of things people fight to have demolished, And that train station is Detroits only surviving historic station. A structure like that one, which was designed by the same architects as Grand Central in N.Y. is a symbol of importance. It reminds people of Detroits contribution to our great country. If gone it will probably be an empty lot. A empty lot isn't going to help in a resurgence of interest in the city.

Submitted by Prince Of Detroit at: June 15, 2009
Thank you Jesus for answering my prayers and knocking Tiger Stadium down. The train Station, Cass Tech Lafayette building and United Arts Theater are next.

Submitted by Let It Go at: June 12, 2009
There is no point in saving what's left of it.

Submitted by Robert at: June 12, 2009
Hey Clay.........did you offer to help pay the expenses to keep the thing standing? The city pays out about a half-million dollars to keep this thing from falling apart and from being too much of a hazard and to provide security personnel to gurard it 24/7.............would you have opened your checkbook to pay for that at all? I thought not. Get real Clay......get real.

Submitted by Robert at: June 12, 2009
Mr. Yeater .......the Conservancy has had 10 long years to make its funding plan a reality.........10 years. They've failed. "Shovel ready" or not the building is a huge financial liability to the city that it cannot afford to pay for.....unless your organization offered to do that for the next several years on their behalf?? I thought not. Nice try Mr. Yeater.......sell it to someone else.

Submitted by Clay at: June 10, 2009
Shameful, Detroit.