July 8, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Tiger Stadium diamond preservation plan could move forward next week

(CAPTION): The old Tigers Stadium from near the third-base line in 2013. . (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)

Detroit The first steps toward city approval for plans to preserve the former baseball diamond at the old Tiger Stadium while building development along Michigan and Trumbull could begin next week.

The 9.5-acre site is owned by the city and the potential agreement would give the non-profit 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, of its goals.

Approval of that agreement, called a memorandum of understanding, may happen at a special meeting for the board of the Detroit Economic Development Corp., tentatively slated for next week, officials from the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the quasi-public agency that oversees the Economic Development Corp. said Tuesday.

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 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 youth sports center.

Two areas of the site one along Michigan Avenue and the other along Trumbull Street would be set aside for a mix of stores, residential or office space.

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.

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