Tigers fan, Tim Simpson, former writer for the Windsor Star and Montreal Gazette, has terminal cancer. In late June, he took one last trip to Comerica Park to watch his Tigers play. What the organization did for him that day is absolutely heart warming.
Being a fan of Tim, his fight, and his story don't require you to be a Tigers fan, a baseball fan, or a sports fan. Just read it already.
According to this article I found on espn.com the Wings are likely to play at the Joe for another season.
This is good news for me as I live in Ann Arbor and it is much easier to get to the Joe than the pain in the ass drive to the Palace.
Hint hint, nudge nudge.
I've personally grown attached to a sports venue (which they are tearing down as we speak), so I wanted to gauge the level to which JLA has found a place in our hearts.
Personally, I don't have a great affinity for the Joe, even though the team inside is huge to me.
The suggestion hinted at in the above-linked article sounds like a great idea to me:
1. Give the Joe to Cobo. Any Cobo renovation that makes us truly competitive for the big trade shows would best take over the structural space of the JLA. I believe Cobo/Joe is the actual site of the original Fort Detroit. As such, I'd love an architectural renovation that uses Fort Detroit as a design basis. Whichever room ends up over what used to be Center Ice could be named for Yzerman. Howe's entrance retains its name.
2. Build a new stadium in Foxtown As referenced, Ilitch is one of the only guys in Detroit with virtually unlimited credit. And with the salary cap, the Wings are an even more profitable franchise for today and the foreseeable future.
The Where: As mentioned, Ilitch is already buying up the parking lots to the west of CoPark. I envision a complex between Park Ave. and Cass. Clifford would have to be razed (not that it's used for more than stadium parking anyway). The Clifford Bridge over I-75 could then be converted to a dramatic walking bridge. The area around there could be developed to service the stadiums district.
Between 81 Tigers games, 41 Red Wings games, 8 Lions games, plus an average of 10 playoff games per year (minus double-ups) that's 140 home game days for the area. I imagine the bars between Park and Woodward would be able to stay open (and thus employ people) all year. There's a lot of good space there for restaurants, etc.
I've always had it in the back of my head that the area between Woodward and Cass north of I-75 (where Greater Detroit Cab is) would be a perfect area to renovate. It would be a fine spot for parking, with a short walk over Clifford Bridge to the Arena (a shout-out to the old walk to Tiger Stadium?)
The How: I know Ilitch doesn't like parting with more $$$ than he needs to, but he's older now, and thinking about his legacy. What a better legacy than to build the NHL's finest venue, a Yankees Stadium of Hockey. One that resembles the old Olympia. It would be the magnum opus of this man's contributions to Detroit, and the centerpiece of the Foxtown sports area.
Detroit could certainly use the construction jobs right now (and the state could use some construction that they or the federal government doesn't have to pay for). And in concert with a renovation of Cobo, we would be able to finish off the revitalization of Foxtown without putting a severe dent in the Riverfront economy.
The city does deserve a better deal for renting the space, whichever space they get. $4 million is what they pay for a decent forward. The way the Joe's laid out now, it's so in-and-out that local businesses don't get as much out of the deal as they should.
As for the Cobo renovation, I wonder if we in the suburbs could help out. The whole partisanizing of the argument in the state senate betrayed a VERY VERY VERY important undercurrent to that whole thing: Oakland County is Willing to Foot the Bill. This is the one area hit least by the recession (not that we haven't been nailed like everywhere else) that is reliant on Detroit for its cultural and economic existence. Not everyone would be behind it, but there might just be a majority behind an investment of capital by the suburbs in rebuilding Cobo. We don't really want a conference center in Novi; what we want is Detroit to get over themselves enough to get a modern facility built downtown.