Muhammad Ali and wife donate $115,000 for new Niles baseball field

Published 11:29 pm Thursday, December 11, 2003

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Muhammad and Lonnie Ali have donated $115,000 which will go toward building a new baseball field near Howard and Ellis schools in Howard Township.
Doug Law, Niles Community Schools superintendent, said Wednesday he expects the school board to accept the donation at its meeting on Monday night.
The Alis' donation is being made to Niles Junior Baseball, which Law described as a highly-competitive, traveling baseball league for Niles 13 and 14 year olds.
The Alis' son, Asaad, who is a student at Ring Lardner Middle School in Niles, will play baseball in that league this summer.
Asaad Ali, who lives at the family's home in Berrien Springs, attends Niles schools through the Schools of Choice program, Law said.
The school board on Monday night is expected to lease property to Niles Junior Baseball for $1 for seven years. After that time, ownership of the baseball diamond, already under construction and funded by the Alis, will revert to Niles Community Schools.
The baseball diamond has been designed with a 75-foot path from home plate to first base, which is regulation for the 13- and 14-year-old league. However, Law said it is being constructed in a fashion to allow it to expand easily to a 90-foot path from home to first, which is regulation for high school baseball.
He said the baseball field will also feature a batting cage, concession stand, press box and bathrooms.