Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Only in Detroit...

The never ending saga of what to do with Tiger Stadium continues in a city that has too many politicians looking out for themselves, rather than the needs of the populace. In today's Freep, I saw this comment from one of the rocket scientists on Detroit's city council, councilwoman JoAnn Watson.

"It would be ridiculous to demolish an existing structure without having a developer lined up."

Does Watson even realize that she's talking about the crumbling health hazard of a structure once known as Tiger Stadium? That it hasn't been used in several years, and was barely maintained for several more years beforehand? That it's an albatross, a white elephant, a structure that has no reasonable use to the city?

I'm no real estate wizard, but it just seems that if you had a lick of common sense, you'd think that the land Tiger Stadium sits on would be more attractive to developers if there wasn't a rotting from the inside out ABANDONED STADIUM on said land?

It's insane to think that the city would be better off keeping the damn thing standing one second more than necessary. But mental competency was never a prerequisite for being elected to Detroit city council.

Then I read this...

People who wish to save the ballpark have charged that Kilpatrick and his aides have ignored viable plans.

There are no viable plans for a stadium that should have been imploded 7 years ago. I'm no engineer, but to even to a layman, it's obvious that the cost of doing anything with Tiger Stadium's infrastructure would be cost prohibitive at this point. The stadium is long past saving.

Despite that fact, the back and forth continues between the mayor's office, which wants to move forward, starting with the demolition of Tiger Stadium, and the city council, which still grasps to the pie in the sky dream that a good part of the stadium could be salvaged by a developer's plan.

A decade or ewo ago, that might have been possible. In 2007? You have be kidding me.

A pair of plans, as usual, are mentioned. There's the "Navin Plan," which would salvage 10,000 seats, and be used for a NONEXISTENT minor league baseball team.

"There's vitality and there is interest in Tiger Stadium as it exists now," said Louis Beer, a proponent of the Navin Plan.

That's a joke, right? Interest as it exists now? Who's interested in a dump? A dump that will cost a fortune to fix?

There's also the "Michigan Hall of Fame Plan," which wants to save 20% of the stadium. Why 20%? Why not 10%? Why not 22%. Why does any % need to be saved?

For that matter, does anyone ever go to the Michigan Hall of Fame? Let alone know where it's located? Isn't it just a hallway full of plaques in the bowels of Cobo Hall? So why would anyone ever go to the hall, even if it was part of what remained Tiger Stadium?

Seems to me, that the only person making sense in the Tiger Stadium debacle is, amazingly enough, mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. What's his plan? The mayor's plan would preserve the historic playing field, and ring it with retail and residential development.

Wow! Something the city could actually use, a park surrounded bynew housing and businesses. Which would be that much easier to implement, if a useless structure wasn't just sitting there, costing the city money.

What about the people most affected by that rusting hulk, the residents and business owners in Corktown?

But Dia Pearce, a resident of the Corktown neighborhood where the stadium is located, favored immediate demolition.

"We fear that houses will not sell in this community as long as we have other empty properties" such as the stadium. "Let some development happen in our community."

That thinking is much too logical for city council, or the save the stadium proponents. Blow it up, clean up the land, property values go up, and I'd bet developers would line up with useful proposals in hand.

But I'm not an expert in land development, unlike Detroit city council. Wait! They aren't experts either, just a bunch of political hacks.

The fact that the fate of Tiger Stadium is still being debated should be an embarrassment to the city of Detroit, and the state of Michigan.


  1. Big Al...

    You're right about the MSHOF -- as it is NOW. But the Hall wants to make itself more of an interactive destination that is FAR bigger than some plaques on a wall. They had a location in the Campus Martius area (old First National building) but the landlord pulled the rug out from under them.

    I don't know if Tiger Stadium is the right locale either, but I do hope they realize their dream! There are tons of plaques not even being displayed because they ran out of room at Cobo.

  2. Eno, it'd be great if the MSHOF had a permanent home. It deserves more than a frigging hallway at Cobo.

    If it ends up as part of a new development there, great. I just hate seeing it get tied up in the Tiger Stadium crap.