Decision on demolition of Tinker Field grandstands delayed

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

Heated words were exchanged after Orlando's venues director showed just how run down the historic Tinker Field is. Now, the decision about how and whether to preserve the field that is the namesake of Joe Tinker will be put off.

Channel 9's Lori Brown learned the delay in the decision could cost taxpayers money, but it looks like the grandstands aren't going anywhere for now.

Venues Director Allen Johnson painted the image of Tinker Field's grandstands by comparing them to a neighbor's house, saying code enforcement would've been called a long time ago if the home looked like the grandstands do.

Slide by slide, Johnson revealed the stands are structurally unsound, pointing out rust, water damage and termites.

But Commissioner Patty Sheehan had concerns about the city's presentation.

"I've never seen a historic presentation without the historic preservation officer present. I'm deeply concerned," Sheehan said.

The clock is ticking to tear the grandstands down. Once the Citrus Bowl demolition crews finish up, the price tag will go even higher, but commissioners weren't ready to make a decision.

Part of the reason is because they weren't told that the Citrus Bowl would encroach on Tinker Field until January even though Channel 9 learned the mayor first found out about the problem in August.

"That decision to make the ball field unusable was done without council input," said Sheehan.

Sheehan also expressed concerns that the city encouraged the Municipal Planning Board to scale back the portion of the ball park that it recommended be designated a historic landmark.

"It's a process I feel has been very much influenced inappropriately," she said.

Tinker Field proponents believe the ball field can still be salvaged by turning the diamond. They hope the delay will buy them an extra at-bat.