The fate of part of Tiger Stadium has gone into extra innings.

Two groups reached a tentative deal Tuesday afternoon to keep a portion of the structure between first base and third base standing until at least next March.

Demolition is expected to continue Wednesday on other sections of the ballpark.Under the agreement with the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy has until Aug. 8 to put $300,000 into an escrow account.

If the conservancy fails to raise an estimated $15.6 million for the project by March 1, half the $300,000 would go to the city. The conservancy will keep the rest.The DEGC, a nonprofit organization that works with the city to promote economic development in Detroit, is expected to meet Aug. 4 with conservancy officials to negotiate a more detailed framework of financing and deadlines for the preservation effort.

The finished deal will be presented to City Council on Aug. 8 for approval.

The conservancy, led by Hall-of-Fame baseball broadcaster Ernie Harwell, appeared to be running out of time in raising enough funds to meet an Aug. 1 deadline to retain part of Tiger Stadium.

But the group came up with more than $400,000 and convinced a council committee this week to ask the full board to rescind an earlier vote calling for complete demolition of Tiger Stadium.

"We ought to affirm people who want to invest in treasures in this city," said councilwoman JoAnn Watson, who expressed support for preserving part of the stadium. Harwell had been expected to attend Tuesday's meeting, but had to attend to his wife, Lulu, who was hospitalized with chest pains, his attorney Gary Spicer said.

Two companies hired to do the work began knocking down some of the outfield walls last month.

They had expected to make about $1 million by selling off scrap.The city loses a $300,000 payment from the contractor if part of the stadium is saved. The $300,000 from the conservancy makes up that amount.

The conservancy also has agreed to put another $69,000 into an escrow account to pay for six months of security at the ballpark and maintenance of the site.


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