Hamtramck Stadium restoration takes home Governor's Award for historic preservation work

What’s happening: The $2.6 million rehabilitation of Hamtramck Stadium was celebrated at the 2023 Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation, receiving one of four Governor’s Awards for their achievements in reviving the once abandoned site, long in disrepair. The 20th annual awards ceremony was held on Thursday, May 4, at Heritage Hall, which is the new welcome center at the State Capitol Building in Lansing.

What it is: Hamtramck Stadium first became homefield to the Detroit Stars, the city’s original baseball team in the Negro National League, in 1930, and hosted various Detroit Negro League teams until 1937. It is one of just five Negro League home ballparks still standing, according to the Friends of the Historic Hamtramck Stadium, the nonprofit organization initially responsible for leading the charge to restore the historic site.

What it became: Following its life as a professional baseball stadium, Hamtramck Stadium hosted scores of school, church, and community teams over the decades, including baseball, football, soccer, and more, before falling into disrepair and being fenced off in 1997. The Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium group formed in 2012 and began to rally the community and build the partnerships that led to its eventual restoration. Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium; Wayne County; SmithGroup; and DMC Consultants, Inc. were named as recipients of the Governor's Award.

The original grandstand and roof were rehabilitated, the seating and ramps reconstructed, and the playing field revived. A dedication ceremony was held on June 20, 2022, and the site is now in use by the community and for a variety of baseball games and activities.

The $2.6 million rehabilitation of Hamtramck Stadium was celebrated at the 2023 Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation. (Photo: Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation)

Why it’s important: “I grew up playing baseball at Hamtramck Stadium not knowing we were standing where the legendary Detroit Stars played,” Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck), says in a statement. “I am so glad to see that our community is being awarded to keep this American jewel protected for years to come.”

Who else won: In addition to Hamtramck Stadium, also winning Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation this year are the Collaborative Bring Back Calumet initiative in Calumet; the rehabilitation of Eastern Elementary School into Emerald Flats Apartments in Grand Rapids; and the documentation and recovery of the Lake Huron Red Tail aircraft in lower Lake Huron near Port Huron.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.