July 14, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Deal allows groups to submit plan to develop old Tiger Stadium

Detroit— An effort to keep the former baseball diamond at the old Tiger Stadium and create development along Michigan and Trumbull took its first steps toward city approval Monday.

The agreement gives the nonprofit Detroit Police Athletic League Inc. and preservationist group Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy Inc. until Sept. 30 to submit a detailed plan, including funding and designs. The group already has $3 million but aims to raise up to $2 million to $5 million more.

Meanwhile the city will decide by the end of August which developer will gain the rights to build a potential mix of retail, residential and commercial along Michigan and Trumbull.

“This is definitely the road map to move forward,” said Brian Holdwick, executive vice president of business development for the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.

Approval of that agreement, called a memorandum of understanding, was passed by the board of the Detroit Economic Development Corp., the quasi-public agency that is part of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.

As part of the agreement, space would be set aside for a new headquarters for Detroit PAL, a nonprofit youth sports group, and a youth baseball field that would cover the same footprint where the Detroit Tigers played, according to a copy of the potential agreement provided by the city.

The new headquarters for Detroit PAL would be built along Cochrane Street. PAL would also retain the rights to an area along the Interstate 75 service drive for the possible building of a youth sports center.

“We’re looking to (build) a multi-sports center ... for baseball ... and soccer,” said Thomas Linn, who is with the conservancy group. That could also include event space for up to 3,000.

Two areas of the site — one along Michigan Avenue and the other along Trumbull Street — would be set aside for a mix of stores, residences and office space. Those areas remain under control of the city and the DEGC who are narrowing down the development proposals for the site.

The Tigers played their last game at the site in 1999. Demolition of the stadium began in 2008. Through the years, there have been various failed plans and heated words thrown at city officials about what to do with the site.

During the impasse, the baseball diamond has been maintained by a group of volunteers called Navin Fields Ground Crew, referring to an earlier name of the site. Various groups play baseball on the diamond during the warm months.

laguilar@detroitnews.com

The Tigers played their last game at Michigan and Trumbull in 1999. Demolition of the stadium began in 2008. / Todd McInturf / The Detroit News