HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (AP) - An aging Detroit-area ballpark that once hosted Negro League baseball games is the focus of improvement projects by a nonprofit organization.
Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium will launch a $50,000 crowdfunding effort early next year to restore the diamond and for other projects, according to The Detroit News (https://detne.ws/2iLglGO ).
A capital campaign also is expected to start by June to repair some of the stadium’s original brick structures and renovate the grandstand.
The Detroit Stars and Detroit Wolves played at the stadium that was used for Negro League games in the 1930s.
“It’s really important for us to see the stadium and field get a new life,” said Gary Gillette, founder and president of Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium.
“What we also want to do is honor the heritage of the Negro Leagues.”
Hamtramck is a small, working-class enclave of Detroit.
The stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012 and a state historical marker was dedicated there in 2014, according to the newspaper.
High school baseball was played at the site until the 1990s.
“What we want to do is make the field available to all the kids who live here to play whatever sports they are interested in, which would mostly be soccer and cricket,” Gillette said. “We anticipate it … would be open essentially from dawn to dusk for kids to play on.”
Ron Teasley, 89, watched Negro League games at the stadium with his father in the 1930s.
“It was a big event for a lot of African Americans to go to watch the Detroit Stars play,” Teasley told the newspaper. “My father was so enamored with the team. Naturally, it sort of rubbed off on me.”
Teasley later would play for the league’s New York Cubans.
The stadium is owned by the city of Hamtramck which is pursuing grants and other funding opportunities for the former ballpark.
“It’s an amazing historic resource that’s so important culturally and could be in use for the community,” Hamtramck City Planner Melanie Markowicz said.
Information from: The Detroit News, https://detnews.com/
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.