Detroit's Tiger Stadium, one of the few surviving old-time major-league ballparks, moved closer to retirement Wednesday when local officials unveiled a plan for a new stadium. The 79-year-old stadium where Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg and Al Kaline built their careers would be replaced by a new park that could cost as much as $135-million under the plan proposed by Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara.
The new stadium would be part of a complex including apartments, a hotel and a recreation center, officials said.
The leading site for the proposed facility is a 100-acre parcel of land near the existing stadium.
The current facility is not likely to be torn down. Tigers president Bo Schembechler has suggested turning the current stadium into a field for amateur ballplayers.
"It isn't a choice anymore about whether we save Tiger Stadium or not," said Deputy Wayne County Executive Michael Duggan. "It's whether the Tigers stay in the city or go."
County officials pointed out that Detroit's professional football and basketball franchises fled to the suburbs in recent years.
The Tigers organization has repeatedly threatened to do the same if it does not get a new stadium. It complains that the existing park is outdated, with many obstructed views and substandard facilities.
The team is losing money, and has one of the worst attendance records in Major League Baseball.
The proposal, which would be funded in part by the county's hotel and motel tax and contributions from the Tigers organization, still needs help from city officials and voters.
The Tigers have set an Aug. 1 deadline for a decision on the stadium's future.