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By Renee Summers
Telegram Reporter 

Garden City's Maplewood Community Center Moves to New Home

 

The Our Home Food Pantry for Garden City residents is now operating at the new Community Center, the former Radcliff Center.

Having acquired the Radcliff Center earlier this year, the city of Garden City is in the process of moving operations which previously took place at the Maplewood Community Center to that location. The Radcliff Center, located at 1751Radcliff Street, south of Ford Road, was formerly part of Schoolcraft College and was used as a satellite campus. The city used federal funding to purchase the property earlier this year at a cost of $210,000 which includes much of the remaining equipment such as desks, tables, computers, and office equipment.

City Manager Doc Daugherty says the city had been working on plans and seeking funding to rehabilitate the old Maplewood Center when Schoolcraft College announced its decision to close the Radcliff Center, and the city offered to buy it. The Radcliff Center is roughly twice the size of Maplewood, offering the opportunity for the city to expand its recreational community programs and activities. The city's Our Home Food Pantry and many activities for senior citizens are already in operation at the Radcliff Center, now known as the new Garden City Community Center.

Daugherty says the Maplewood Center will not be empty and neglected. A local pre-school will be renting part of the building to use for its Great Start Readiness Program. Also remaining at the location will be the Garden City Public Library. "Between the rent from the library and GSRP, we'll cover our cost to run the place and put money away to replace the roof one day or the HVAC. Financially, it's a fantastic deal, we're doing better now with Maplewood with these two outside organizations paying funds than we would if we were just sitting there with our own programs," he says.

Daugherty says the city has big plans for the new Community Center, referred to as "The Hub." The center is being designed as a welcoming place for guests of all ages. Senior programming will take place mainly in the mornings while youth are in school and most adults are at work. Youth programming will be scheduled for the afternoons and adult-oriented programming will be held in the evenings. The city has requested funding from Wayne County to update and renovate the 60-year old building. Renovations will include construction of a secured entryway, the addition of a full-sized athletic gymnasium, replacement of the heating/ventilation system, asbestos removal and remediation, and the construction of specialty rooms including a dance studio, fitness room, computer lab, kitchen, a café, and large-sized game rooms for billiards and ping pong. Special use rooms will be designed for community groups to meet as well.

Programs and activities will resume at the new Community Center including fitness classes, arts and crafts, bingo, holiday dinners, AARP tax preparation, and veterans benefit offices. With the renovations in place, the new center will also be offering computer classes for all ages, an E-sports gaming room, a teen tech program, cooking classes, Dance Express classes, specialty game rooms for table games, billiards, and shuffleboard. Programs offered in partnership with Wayne County will continue at the new center as well including Meals on Wheels, Youth Assistance and Youth Prevention Programs, The Senior Alliance, Flood Damage Assessment and Reporting, lead water filter distribution, and COVID testing and vaccinations. The Emergency Food Assistance Program and Focus Hope food distribution will also be based at the new center. There is also space at the new center for the community garden to once again thrive, along with gardening classes.

While it may sound like a large price tag is part of the upgrades, Daugherty wants Garden City residents to know that all expenses are being covered by federal and county funding, not residents' tax dollars. "Some people have this concept that we are spending a fortune and our taxes are going crazy...but as far as direct taxes from our residents...no," he says. "Literally, it's costing us zero." In addition, the new center is already housing a Head Start Program and t.Lab, an accelerated learning and tutoring program for students, and both are paying to rent space.

Programs and activities will be open to all in the area. Daugherty adds, "It's going to be a great place for everybody. It will offer a whole lot more and be more inviting."

 

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