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By Gina Steward
Telegram Staff 

Kemeny Center has Grand Re-Opening

City of Detroit completes $9.5 M renovation


November 1, 2018

The Kemeny Recreation Center in Southwest Detroit was re-opened during a festive ceremony on Saturday, October 27, 2018. The Center reopened thanks to a $9.5 million renovation by the City of Detroit.

Located in the Boynton neighborhood, the renovation and expansion includes:

* A new gymnasium

* New multi-purpose rooms; facilities for sports, fitness and other activities; and a new kitchen

* A new parking lot

* New electrical, mechanical and roof systems throughout

The old building was 20,826 square feet. With the addition of the new gym, the building was expanded to 29,026 square feet.

The center is named after WWII soldier Charles Kemeny, who was killed in combat in France in August 1944. He graduated from Holy Redeemer High School in the Delray neighborhood, and his parents owned a market nearby on Pleasant Street. Mr. Kemeny's family was present for the Grand Opening. His grandparents donated the land to the City of Detroit when it was just an empty lot.

"We know how important Kemeny has been to this community because of its history and the recreational opportunities it has offered to the residents in this area," says Mayor Mike Duggan. "Now, thanks to this beautiful renovation and expansion, the Kemeny Recreation Center will be here for generations of families living in southwest Detroit."

Originally opened in 1957, the center was the hub of the Fort/Schaefer community offering residents swimming, arts and crafts, baseball, basketball and quilting lessons.

The City closed Kemeny in 2015 with the intention of building a replacement nearby. Ultimately, it was determined that renovating and expanding the existing facility made the most fiscal sense.

The members of the Orginal Citizens of Detroit and local businesses had been meeting over the last ten years to come up with a strategy on how to make this happen.

Marathon Petroleum, which is located near Kemeny, donated $2 million towards the $9.5-million renovation and expansion. In addition, Kemeny Park, located adjacent to the center, was completely renovated in 2017.

"We are happy to give back to our community and the residents who supported the expansion of our operations," says David Roland, Marathon Petroleum, refinery general manager. "This shows our commitment to both our local community and the city of Detroit."

The construction contractor on this project was Detroit-based, minority-owned KEO & Associates, which is responsible for several other recreation centers and park improvement projects. The architect was Ehresman Associates, Inc. The Detroit Building Authority served as the owner's representative for the Detroit Parks and Recreation Division

Other highlights of the remodeled center is a banquet room with seating for 140 guest complete with full kitchen; a library named in honor of Sowest Detroit resident - Dr. Leonard; a computer room, reading/study rooms and much more.

The center is open daily and the community can stop by and take a walk through. The day of the Grand Re-Opening the building was open from 11am - 6pm with programs and activities going on all day.

For more information call (313) 628-0956 or visit the center at 2260 Fort St S, Detroit, MI 48217


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