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Detroit spurns Chevy offer to maintain Tiger Stadium field

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Tiger Stadium

Chevrolet employees have volunteered to maintain the old Tiger Stadium playing field for use by youth baseball teams, but the offer was spurned by the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., where officials want to keep the property open for a future big-box retailer.

Detroit, interestingly, is in somewhat of an economic renaissance of sorts: after property values plunged, urban homesteaders are heading back into the city to claim real-estate bargains. And that's gathered the attention of big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and the Meijer grocery-store chain, who have announced or are expected to announce plans to enter the city, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press.

That makes a large plat of land like the Tiger Stadium site so attractive: when the ballpark was torn down, city officials hoped to use the land to lure some large retailers. Now, years after the ballpark was torn down, it looks like that plan might come to fruition.

Which is why the DEGC doesn't want to see baseball at the site. The diamond had been maintained by volunteers in the past, and the offer by Chevy employees would have ensured the field stay in playable shape -- but with development on the horizon, DEGC would just as soon have people forget baseball was ever played at Michigan and Trumbull.

Ever since the Tigers moved to Comerica Park, venerable Tiger Stadium has been treated like an annoyance by city officials: redevelopment plans were ignored, the place was allowed to rot, and finally it was torn down despite objections by fans and preservationists, who wanted to preserve the original Navin Field grandstand. The ballpark opened on the same day as Fenway Park, and it perhaps says something about each city to see where each ballpark landed.

Tiger Stadium photo by John Moist.

RELATED STORIES: Volunteers maintaining Tiger Stadium field; Detroit rejects redevelopment plan for Tiger Stadium site; Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy: Demolition of Tiger Stadium was unlawful, reckless; Tiger Stadium demolition resumes; Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy "shocked, dismayed" about decision to tear down Tiger Stadium; Detroit commission votes to tear down Tiger Stadium; Federal money for Tiger Stadium receives initial approval; Tiger Stadium preservation takes another step forward; Tiger Stadium preservationists: We have the money

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