Since the demolition of Tiger Stadium in 2009, a group of unpaid volunteers calling themselves the Navin Field Grounds Crew have worked to maintain the site where the likes of Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Hank Greenberg all played. Since then, countless people have enjoyed the historic site, from youth and vintage baseball players to Corktown residents walking their dogs to people trotting around the bases while imitating Kirk Gibson's legendary 1984 World Series home run
off of Goose Gossage. A handful of couples have even gotten married at home plate.
The way people enjoy the historic site of Navin Field could soon change, however. Last summer, Detroit PAL
, a sports organization serving youth in the city, was granted development rights for the site at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull. The group's plans call for housing, retail, and office space around the perimeter of the playing field, which will be replaced with artificial turf for the purposes of continuous youth sports programming.
That's where the Navin Field Grounds crew takes issue.
"All we are saying is give grass a chance," says Dave Mesrey, co-founder of the Navin Field Grounds Crew, which recently printed shirts sporting the same slogan.
Mesrey and the Grounds Crew point to recent stories
suggesting that artificial turf could have negative health effects on children, as well historical importance of the original field as reasons for keeping the grass.
On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the Navin Field Grounds Crew and the Corktown Community Organization are hosting a forum on the future of Navin Field at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local at 1358 Abbott St. in Corktown. The event, which starts at 6:30 p.m., will feature a public discussion on public access to the Navin Field site, artificial turf versus natural grass, retail and residential development, and more.
Representatives will be on hand from the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, the Navin Field Grounds Crew
, Detroit PAL
, and Tiger Stadium Partners
To learn more, click here