DETROIT The City Council today authorized a public-private partnership to take control of Tiger Stadium with the option of tearing down the historic ballpark.
On a 5-4 vote, the council gave the Detroit Economic Development Corp. the authority to demolish the park.
The decision ends years of debate over what to do with the stadium, which housed the Detroit Tigers for more than 80 years.
Earlier, Hall of Fame sportscaster Ernie Harwell made his case for saving Tiger Stadium from the wrecking ball, telling City Council members he would be willing to mediate between them and groups wanting to preserve the venerable ballpark.
Harwell asked the council to postpone any decision on the stadium s future until after the council returns in September.
However, council members decided to vote on whether to turn over the stadium project to the DEDC.
Harwell said he preferred a scaled-down version of the stadium that would seat 8,000 to 10,000 people and be used for high school baseball, soccer and lacrosse games. He also suggested a music museum to highlight the city s music heritage.
Tiger Stadium has meant a lot to generations, Harwell said. If we can t (save part of it), we ll have to keep Tiger Stadium in our memory, our mind and our heart, and cherish it that way.
The council long has tried to decide what to do with the ballpark.
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has sought to demolish part of it to help redevelop a neighborhood in need of new stores and homes.
Tiger Stadium under several names has stood at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull since 1912. It has been empty since team owner Mike Ilitch moved the ballclub to Comerica Park in 2000.
City officials have said security and maintenance costs Detroit $25,000 each month.
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