Like a lot of Detroiters, I spent a lot of time watching great baseball games at Tiger Stadium, and although the structure itself was not really suited for an adaptive reuse, I’ve always liked the idea of redeveloping the site in a way that would honor the history it represents. The site is also an important one to the Corktown neighborhood, so we have to take advantage of it to continue the revitalization of that important part of Detroit.
I’m very pleased that we have reached a point where both of those priorities can be met — and we can also create a place that promotes youth sports. The Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) has issued a request for proposals to redevelop the site with room for a new headquarters for Detroit PAL and a youth baseball field in the same area as many legendary baseball stars played. The RFP also envisions three zones for development that would enhance the surrounding Corktown neighborhood.
This vision for the site represents the best combination of input from all the significant stakeholders — the City of Detroit, the Corktown community, and all those who have fond memories of the old ball park. Every time a youngster runs a base on the youth field it will honor the legacy of the field itself, while every dollar invested in the surrounding development will enhance the viability of Corktown’s future.
The site itself is about 9.5 acres in size and the plan included in the RFP shows a proposed new headquarters for Detroit PAL along Cochrane St., while the youth field would cover much of the same footprint as Tiger Field. The RFP calls for development in two areas of the site: one along Michigan Ave. and the other along Trumbull St. A third development zone along Kaline Drive is not being offered at this time. The RFP states that the EDC will favor proposals that relate well to the surrounding communities, achieve urban development objectives such as high density and street-front massing, and evoke or commemorate the history of the site.
The RFP may be downloaded from DEGC’s website, www.degc.org. Proposals are due in late May, with a decision by the EDC possible by the end of August. There’s a lot of work ahead of us, but we have a lot of support for the concept and plenty of interest from qualified developers. It’s taken quite a few at-bats to get here, but we are swinging for the fence on this pitch.
By: George W. Jackson, Jr.