Detroit development chief who turned Tiger Stadium into empty lot blames baseball lovers for keeping it an empty lot

Today in “Detroit economic development chief George Jackson really, really, REALLY hates Tiger Stadium even though it was demolished five years ago” news:

The top Detroit economic development official accused U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, a Democrat from Detroit, and a nonprofit group Tuesday of blocking a redevelopment proposal for the Tiger Stadium site by insisting — for nostalgia’s sake — that plans include a baseball park with the same dimensions as those of the demolished field…

George Jackson, CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., told an audience of about 300 business and community leaders Tuesday that the now-scuttled redevelopment plan called for a row of retail stores, the Parade Company’s new headquarters and, to the chagrin of Levin and a nonprofit called the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, a Little League-style field with a shorter outfield and smaller basepaths than those in Tiger Stadium.

“We had a plan that was nixed because we didn’t comply with their need for a center field that no Major League ballpark even has at this point,” Jackson said following a Detroit Economic Club event in the Renaissance Center’s Detroit Marriott.

Conservancy president Thomas Linn denies opposing any plan that didn’t retain Tiger Stadium’s 440-foot center field, and indeed, given the number of alleged development plans for the site that have fallen through, it doesn’t seem like it would have taken a group of preservationists to block this one. But given that Jackson’s resume already includes tearing down the stadium with little notice, rejecting an offer from Chevrolet to maintain the ballfield at no cost to the cityrefusing to let people watch the 2012 World Series on a big screen at the site, and calling a MLB proposal to build a youth baseball academy there a “scam,” I’m guessing a baseball just ran over Jackson’s dog when he was a kid or something.

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