DETROIT (AP) – The demolition of Tiger Stadium was halted by a judge Friday, just hours after crews began tearing down what’s left of the historic ballpark.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Isidore Torres issued a temporary restraining order, said Robert Rossbach, spokesman for the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.

The injunction was requested by the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, a nonprofit group that had tried to raise money to preserve and redevelop the ballpark. Its $33.4 million plan was rejected Tuesday by the city’s Economic Development Corp. board, which said funding wasn’t in place.

A hearing on the order will be held Monday before Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards, Rossbach said.

Tiger Stadium opened in 1912 as Navin Field, on the same day Fenway Park opened in Boston. The Detroit Tigers left after the 1999 season, moving to Comerica Park.

Wrecking crews went to work last June, and much of the stadium was torn down by fall.

On Friday, a backhoe tore apart a portion of the lower deck along what had been the third-base line. Dozens of fans stood on a nearby pedestrian bridge as a machine blasted water overhead to keep down dust.

Peter Riley, one of the leaders of the various efforts to save the stadium, watched equipment move toward the ballpark earlier in the day.

“To use a sports phrase, it’s like losing Game 7,” he said. “… You don’t put in the passion, you don’t put in the time, you don’t put in the money for an unhappy ending.”

Kathy D’Angelo was among the fans who gathered.

“There’s not too many places downtown that are great memories,” she said, adding “for those of us in the 50s and 60s, this was prime time.”

Rossbach had said leveling the stadium would take 30 days and cleanup would take another 30 to 60 days.

AP-ES-06-05-09 1911EDT

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