Tinker Field grandstands to be demolished; Some seats available for purchase

ORLANDO, Fla. — The grandstands are coming down at the historic Tinker Field in downtown Orlando.

Demolition comes after a nearly year-and-a-half-long battle over saving the field and the grandstands.

In the end, the city decided to declare the field a historic landmark but allow the stands to be torn down.

One day before the city was set to break ground on the Citrus Bowl, officials revealed that the construction would encroach on Tinker Field, making the ball park unusable.

The news enraged many in the community who wanted to know why they had not been told about the Citrus Bowl's encroachment sooner.

In the months that followed, the city delayed the demolition, and the commission eventually voted to preserve the diamond and the outfield, but not the stands.

Many wanted to see the 92-year-old stands refurbished or at least a plan to build new stands before tearing them down.

The dugout is gone and the 92-year-old stands, where fans once watched Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, will be too in just a few weeks.

"I never thought Tinker Field would die before me," said resident Stovelleo Stovall.

The field marks the only place where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in central Florida.

"I think there was a move to expedite construction without being sensitive to the cultural component," said Clint Salters, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The city preserved 500 of the original wooden chairs from the grandstands to make them available to the public.

LINK: Purchase seats and other items from Tinker Field