A new Ford Field

Scenes from a city, beginning anew

Baseball diamonds don’t come to mind as developments that are helping to remake Detroit, but workers are putting the finishing touches on the city’s second new million-dollar ballpark for young players. Named William C. Ford Field, it’s on the northwest corner of W. Canfield and the John Lodge Freeway service drive, in a neighborhood that combines low-income housing and the middle-class Woodbridge Estates. This Ford Field is an enclosed mini-stadium with lights, brick dugouts, bullpens, batting cages, and a lush grass infield. (Even in Detroit’s heyday, virtually all city ball diamonds had hard dirt infields.) The fences are 240 feet in left and right and 250 in center.

The park will cost $1.4 million, and it’s being financed by the UAW-Ford, which opened a similar facility in Balduck Park on Detroit’s east side this past summer. UAW Vice president Jimmy Settles, director of the union’s Ford department, said the UAW is helping to build ball fields because of its commitment to social responsibility and Detroit’s youth. “The kids deserve it!” he wrote in an email. Ford Field’s grand opening is scheduled for June.

- Bill McGraw

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Thu, 12/11/2014 - 3:00pm
When I was a kid in the '50's, our ball field was a lot behind the school. No lights, no sprinkler system, a few rows of bleachers, a bench on both 1st and 3rd baselines, a pitchers mound, and a high fence behind home plate. It was in constant use for pick-up games and organized little leagues. The grass was always mowed. Today, the fields are ultra refined, but no one can use it without reserving the field. Plus it costs at least a million to put on land that is already owned by the city. Better to use the money the UAW-Ford spent on many lesser fields, and also use the money to maintain these lesser fields.