Plan to demolish Tinker Field grandstands upsets civil rights group

ORLANDO, Fla. — Southern Christian Leadership Conference representatives announced that they are upset with plans by the city of Orlando to demolish the grandstands at Tinker Field.

City officials said renovating the rundown grandstands would cost $10 million, according to a letter obtained Thursday by Channel 9.
According to the letter, a recommendation will be made to the Orlando City Council on Monday to demolish the stands, but preserve the ball field for use in community events and add a historic marker on the site.

READ: Letter  recommends stands be demolished

Some in the community said $10 million is a small price to pay to preserve one of Orlando's most historic sites.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the pitcher's mound at Tinker Field on March 6, 1964, and addressed a crowd in the grandstands.
The Rev. Stovelleo Stovall of the SCLC said he wants the ballpark preserved for his grandchildren.
"I don't want them to ride by here and see it's a parking lot, a VIP parking lot, and I point over there and say, "Hey, Martin Luther King spoke there before,'" Stovall said.
Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson are among the baseball greats who played at Tinker Field.
According to Channel 9's Lori Brown, the owner of the Brevard Manatees baseball team said he would be happy to talk with the city about moving the team to Orlando if the city is interested.
Tinker Field is adjacent to the Citrus Bowl. As a multimillion-dollar renovation project to the Citrus Bowl got underway in 2014, city officials announced that the 80-year-old baseball park would be demolished.
That announcement outraged a number of people, and a group has worked to come up with a way to save the ballpark.