DETROIT — Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) today broke ground at the site of historic Tiger Stadium located at Michigan Ave. and Trumbull. The groundbreaking follows a press conference held in February, where Detroit PAL announced they had raised $12 million of their $20 million campaign goal within the first year of fundraising. The $12 million will cover initial construction costs of the nonprofit’s new headquarters and youth sports facility at the site. Detroit PAL intends to begin construction later this month.
Also at the groundbreaking, Detroit PAL CEO, Tim Richey and former Detroit Tigers player, Willie Horton, together announced the decision to rename the field in honor of Horton’s fifteen-season legacy with the Tigers, as well as his years of community involvement in the city of Detroit. The field will be called the Willie Horton Field of Dreams and is projected to open in the summer of 2017.
“We’re very excited that in one year’s time, we have been able to raise over $12 million towards the redevelopment of this historic site,” said Richey. “Thanks to the support of our generous donors and a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, we were able to raise the initial funds necessary to begin construction. We believe one year from now, we will be opening the doors to the community, hosting sports programming for many more Detroit kids, and continuing a tradition of providing mentorship and leadership skills for Detroit kids.”
The ceremony was attended by hundreds of Detroit PAL kids, parents, coaches and dignitaries such as Mayor Mike Duggan, Senator Carl Levin, Police Chief James E. Craig, Thom Linn from the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, and members of the Detroit Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan State Police, who support the program. Also in attendance were major contributors, including representatives of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, The Skillman Foundation and The Kresge Foundation.
“The Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy believed the best way to honor the history made at Old Tiger Stadium was to use the site to mold new sports heroes and create new memories,” said Thom Linn, Miller Canfield Attorney and President of Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy. Senator Carl Levin added, “Detroit PAL and their supporters are to be commended for sharing our vision of what the field should be used for once again, a field of dreams for the kids of Detroit.”
“This historic site will soon welcome a new era of young athletes thanks to the efforts of Detroit PAL and their major supporters,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “It is meaningful that this site will honor many of Detroit’s sports heroes from the past while offering a new generation of young athletes’ important opportunities and character-building lessons taught in Detroit PAL programs.”
Police Chief James E. Craig added, “Whenever we can provide positive opportunities for kids to interact with Detroit police officers, we know it improves their perceptions and creates enduring relationships that impact their lives in the short and long term. This site will have a monumentally positive impact on our city and the youth of Detroit.”
The “Kids at the Corner” campaign kicked off in February 2015, after the Detroit Economic Development Corporation approved PAL plans to redevelop the land at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull into a sports complex and PAL headquarters. Other key campaign dates included:
DEGC approval: December 2014
City Council approval vote: November 24, 2015
Campaign kick-off: February 26, 2015
Announcement of construction funds raised: February 2, 2016
Groundbreaking: April 13, 2016
Tooles/Roncelli was selected as contractor of the redevelopment project, and Detroit PAL also hosted an outreach event in March, soliciting project bids from Detroit-headquartered businesses. Over 70 businesses were present to respond to pieces of the construction project.
“We are committed to honoring the history of the stadium while looking forward toward the future of Detroit and the youth of this city,” added Richey. “The redevelopment of this site is the perfect marriage of the old and the new. We’re embracing the history and heroes who once played here and also setting a stage for a new generation of athletes.”
About Detroit Police Athletic League:
Detroit PAL is a nonprofit organization positively impacting the lives of nearly 12,000 children each year through athletic, academic and leadership development programs with roots dating back to 1969. Detroit PAL empowers the community by training volunteer coaches and creating safe places for kids to play. Each year, Detroit PAL teaches nearly 1,700 caring community members how to be encouraging and effective mentors.
Source: Detroit Police Athletic League