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Local News / Sports

Tuesday, 3 November, 2009 1:01 AM

Oakland County Cruisers break ground on new 3,900-seat stadium

PHOTO BY MICHELE KOTLARSKY / ©AMERICAJR.com

Officials are breaking ground for the new 3,900-seat stadium in Waterford, Mich. on Oct. 29, 2009.

by Michele Kotlarsky
michelek@mac.com

 

WATERFORD, Mich. -- Who are the Oakland County Cruisers? The Frontier League’s Oakland Country Cruisers baseball team was born out of lessons learned from the previous bids to bring independent professional baseball to southeastern Michigan that had come up a bit short. Owned by Oakland County-based Diamond Heroes of Southeast Michigan, Inc., the team is currently competing in Ypsilanti as the Midwest Sliders.

For the 2010 season, the Sliders will become the Oakland County Cruisers and will move to their all-new 3,900-seat stadium in Northern Oakland County behind Summit Place Mall. With the land secured, original plans were to break ground on the new stadium in August of 2009, according to their flyers that were passed out.

The Waterford Honor Guard lead the crowd in a round of Pledge of Allegiance, and then the band on stage in blue t-shirts sang the Star Spangled Banner.

Marie Hauswirth of the Waterford Chamber of Commerce was introduced and said that three years ago she put two men together at a golf outing one had a dream the other had the knowledge and this is how the Cruisers were born.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said that this was the largest turnout for teams around the country that he had ever seen. A plaque was given to Rob Hillard and partner. Waterford Township Supervisor Carl Solden was there in the crowd along with three Oakland County Commissioners: John Scott, Tom Middleton, Jim Runestad. Kevin Hurt from Gary Peters office was on hand as was Colleen Peters. Gayle Haynes State Rep. for Lansing was on her way also. There were a lot of officials in the crowd.

Carl Solden introduced people from the Township Board who were on hand, Clerk Betty Fortino, Treasurer Margaret Birch, Trustee David Kramer, Ruth Johnson from Oakland County Clerk’s office was also in the crowd. Solden thanked his staff for working on this project since 2006. The resurrection of the Summit Place Mall has begun. A Los Angeles firm now owns the mall and Shaun Raybar from the corporation has been working with officials. Mike Kowall, State Rep. of White Lake, was also in attendance, Dan Stencil, Oakland County Park and Recreation, and Springfield Supervisor, Mike Trout, was also there.

Bill Lee, Commissioner of the Frontier League, said since 1999 there have been nine stadiums built, 4,300 fans in southern Illinois but the Waterford crowd drew three times as many. This stadium will be the biggest one yet.

Rob Hillard, President and CEO of the Cruisers, said there will be a public stock offering. There are two phases of the construction. A total of 1,250 permanent stadium seats will be put in, there will be mobile concession stands, temporary locker rooms and a press box for the media. July 16, 2010 will be the Cruisers' first game at home. The end of the season will be September when they will play 27 games. Nine home games are scheduled in Ypsilanti, ending 2010 September-December season they will finish the stadium in 2011 the ballpark will be completed. They will offer with removable dirt mount, a softball program for women, and it will also be made available to high schools and colleges for games. Steve Ogg will be leading the program. Ten to 15 game full season forms were available.

There were also families over at the Academy seeing what it has to offer.

 

PHOTO BY MICHELE KOTLARSKY / ©AMERICAJR.com

Getting ready

 

PHOTO BY MICHELE KOTLARSKY / ©AMERICAJR.com

Waterford Honor Guard

 

PHOTO BY MICHELE KOTLARSKY / ©AMERICAJR.com

Waterford Honor Guard

 

PHOTO BY MICHELE KOTLARSKY / ©AMERICAJR.com

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson was among the speakers at the ceremony.

 

PHOTO BY MICHELE KOTLARSKY / ©AMERICAJR.com

L. Brooks Patterson

 

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