|Former U.S. Senator Carl Levin (left) and Detroit PAL CEO Tim Richey (center), pictured Sunday with WXYZ's Chuck Stokes, are expected to announce $11 million in funding today for their new Tiger Stadium redevelopment project. (Detroit PAL)|
The Navin Field Grounds Crew has learned that the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy board voted yesterday, 7-2, to transfer Senator Carl Levin's $3 million federal earmark to the Detroit Police Athletic League, bringing PAL's fundraising total for their Kids at the Corner campaign to approximately $11 million.
Details are expected to be announced at a press conference later this morning.
The NFGC has also learned that the Conservancy is now proposing to keep Navin Field's historic infield intact (with authentic grass and real dirt), while allowing Detroit PAL to install artificial turf in the outfield only.
The Navin Field Grounds Crew continues to maintain that a natural grass field is best for the historic corner of Michigan and Trumbull — the way it's been since 1896. Our research has shown that real grass is not only safer for our children, it's also healthier for Southwest Detroit's fragile environment.
"The safety of the children should absolutely come first," says NFGC spokesman Dave Mesrey. "And after nearly a year of research, our experts tell us that natural grass is the safest surface for children and adults. We also believe that natural grass is consistent with Senator Levin's earmark, which calls for the preservation of a public park.
"And in our view, real grass represents real preservation."
Brandeis University Professor Guive Mirfendereski, a leading national expert on artificial turf and managing editor of industry watchdog SynTurf.org, calls plastic grass "a lifeless eco-desert."
NFGC founder Tom Derry says he's concerned that Navin Field will no longer be accessible to the public as it's been since 2010. "And if they put in artificial turf," Derry says, "it loses its appeal as a tourist attraction."
"Our supporters have even offered to contribute to a grass-roots fund," Mesrey said. "They want to support PAL ... they just don't want to support artificial turf."
A press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at DTE Energy headquarters in downtown Detroit.