Progress Continues on Hamtramck Stadium Renovations
Progress continues on plans to renovate historic Hamtramck Stadium. On Monday, Detroit city planners announced that Smith Group JJR has been hired to create a pre-development plan for the renovations.
The bulk of the $76,900 cost of the plan is being financed by a $50,000 National Parks Service African American Civil Rights grant, while the remaining costs will be picked up by Community Development Block Grant funds.
Hamtramck Stadium is on the very short list of ballparks that remain from the Negro Leagues. Home to the Detroit Stars and Detroit Wolves, legendary players such as Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, and Judy Johnson called the stadium home.
Due to tax issues from the owner, among other things, a Negro Leagues team wasn’t long for Detroit and relocated to Columbus, Ohio. Hamtramck Stadium was used for all sorts of events (little league, church leagues, etc.) after the Stars departed, but nothing ever stuck and the stadium fell into disrepair with the grandstand being fenced off and eventually Hamtramck became dormant.
What is the end goal for the renovations? In a statement issued Monday, city planning officials said, “The primary goal of rehabilitation and revitalizing Hamtramck Stadium is to re-open the Stadium as a multi-purpose facility for public use and enjoyment.”
The statement goes on to say the uses would include everything from youth league organized sports to concerts to interpretive exhibition games which would explore the heritage of the site.
The current timeline is for the pre-development plan to be completed by the spring of 2018 with the hope of beginning construction shortly thereafter.