The demo has begun, but the people behind the
Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy
are looking to line up three sources of funding to come up with the $15 million to save the field and stands between the dug outs. That includes $3 million to $5 million earmarked from the federal budget, another $3 million to $5 million from philanthropic foundations, and $3 million to $5 million in tax credits.
The conservancy hopes to cement its status as a 501c nonprofit within 30 days, and also in that time it hopes know whether U.S. Sen. Carl Levin has been able to take a big step in earmarking the money in this year's federal budget. If that doesn’t happen, well, it's pretty much strike three for the preservation efforts many critics have decried for years.
"I understand those critics but disagree with them," says Dan Varner, CEO of Think Detroit PAL
and chair of the board of directors for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy. "I would encourage folks to give us a chance and not to bet against us."
Varner adds that historic and other tax credits will make up about $5 million in the funding. Add in another $5 million from the feds and he sees the philanthropic coming forward with $5 million or more. Much of the project rests on whether the feds can come through.
The conservancy has set up a donation
function through its web site, but is asking people to hold off with donations until it knows the federal funds are still alive in 30 days. If they are, Varner says the chances are better than 50/50 part of the old stadium will be saved.
In the meantime the conservancy's leaders are lining up funding from foundations and working with architects to determine exactly how much and what parts of the old stadium should be saved, and what the saved sections will be used for. Plans have included a public, park-like playing field for youth baseball, a museum, and even office space in the actual structure.
Source: Dan Varner, chair of the board of directors for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy
Writer: Jon Zemke