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Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Harwell backs plan to save part of Tiger Stadium

Associated Press

DETROIT -- Retired Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell says the long-vacant Tiger Stadium should be revived as a venue for boxing, amateur football and amateur baseball with 10,000 to 14,000 seats.

Ernie Harwell
Former Tigers broadcater Ernie Harwell (center), seen here on Opening Day, is backing a plan to preserve part of Tiger Stadium as a sports facility and museum.

"In America, we have a tendency to knock down anything that's over 30 years old and make a parking lot out of it," the 89-year-old Hall of Fame member said Tuesday. "Whereas in Europe, they preserve all these beautiful buildings and structures that have a history. I sort of like the European approach."

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has set an Oct. 1 deadline to hear the plan before proceeding with plans to demolish the stadium. It has stood at the site since 1912 but saw its last Tigers game in 1999.

Team owner Mike Ilitch moved the ballclub to Comerica Park in 2000.

Harwell and lawyer S. Gary Spicer propose reducing Tiger Stadium's seating while adding music and sports memorabilia museums.

The City Council voted 5-4 on July 27 to give the public-private partnership the Detroit Economic Development Corp. the authority to demolish the park.

Development group President George Jackson called the plan a "PR gimmick." "Our decision will not be based on a public relations campaign," he told the Detroit Free Press. "It's going to be based on financial substance, period."

Harwell told The Detroit News that his plan was "picking up steam."