A judge has told The Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy that enough is enough:
“It appears that the plaintiff has been given every opportunity on this project,” said Judge Prentis Edwards. “The plaintiff has simply failed to come up with the requisite funding” . . . Edwards said that given the harm to the city and repeated extensions of time for the conservancy to finance its proposal to redevelop what remains of the stadium, emergency relief was not in order.
No matter how sympathetic you are towards the Conservancy’s efforts here, at some point you have to face reality, and reality dictates that when a movement with preservation aspirations like the Conservancy has such a difficult time raising the cash it needs in a timely fashion, the viablity and advisability of the preservation project itself is dubious at best. Yes, charitable giving has all but dried up in Detroit and that there are many legitimate reasons why even the best of plans could suffer trouble like this, but if there isn’t the general will or ability to get a Tiger Stadium transformation off the ground, how can anyone expect that there will be the will or ability to maintain a community center or a Michigan Sports Hall of Fame or what have you? Even if the Conservancy were successful in step one, odds are that steps two, three and four would falter in similar fashion and that the remaining portion of Tiger Stadium would be in peril in its new form just as it is in its old form.
Don’t get me wrong: I root for Detroit and want to one day see the return of the Detroit in which my parents grew up and which they so fondly recall and recount. I’m a realist, however, and I’ve seen many big preservation and urban renewal ideas like this fizzle in the past. I’m still embarrassed by Autoworld. I worry that whatever Tiger Stadium is attached to will suffer the same fate, and it will once again revert to abandoned property. I’d hate to see that more than I’d hate to see the wrecking balls take down what’s left of the best ballpark there ever was.
UPDATE: “Shortly before noon, two cranes, a bulldozer and a water cannon had moved onto the site, and workers with hard hats began to work on the demolition.”