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As part of the City of Detroit’s ongoing commitment to expanding recreational opportunities for Detroit residents, Mayor Mike Duggan today joined with members of the southwest Detroit community to break ground and announce plans to construct an addition and renovate Kemeny Recreation Center.  The Mayor was joined by Parks and Recreation officials, City Council, community organizations and Marathon Petroleum officials at a groundbreaking ceremony at the center, located at 2260 S. Fort Street in southwest Detroit.

-The $9.5-million renovation and expansion project will include:

-Construction of a new gymnasium addition

-Renovation of existing space to create multi-purpose rooms; facilities for sports, fitness and other activities; and a new kitchen

-Construction of a new parking lot

-Completely new electrical, mechanical and roof systems

“For years, we watched as recreation centers across the city were closed,” Mayor Duggan said.  “But it’s a new day in Detroit.  Last week we opened 16 Summer Fun Centers inside of Detroit schools and starting today we are beginning the process of giving the residents of this community back their own recreation center.”

The Kemeny project follows announcements by the Mayor establishing summer recreational programs in 16 Detroit public schools and the ongoing renovation of 40 neighborhoods parks across the city that will be completed this year.  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 project is being funded primarily by the City, although Marathon Oil is contributing $1.4 million to the redevelopment of the center and contributed $600,000 for engineering and design of the new center.

“This project has been a very collaborative effort between Marathon Petroleum, the city of Detroit and neighborhood residents who have tirelessly advocated to keep this project alive,” said David Roland, Marathon Petroleum, Refinery General Manager. “We are happy to give back to our community and the residents who supported the expansion of our operations.”

Kemeny is the oldest existing recreation center that has not undergone major renovation.

Originally opened in 1957, the center was named after Charles P. Kemeny, a WWII soldier who was killed in combat. The center quickly became the hub of the Fort/Schaefer community offering residents swimming, arts and crafts and quilting lessons.

The building is currently 20,826 square feet.  With the addition of the new gym, the building expands to 29,026 square feet.  Work will begin in August 2017 and is expected to be completed in October 2018.

“The Department recognizes that Kemeny is an anchor for this community and we are enthused to be able to revive the old center into an expanded and updated facility,” said Keith Flournoy, Interim Director for Detroit Parks and Recreation Department.  “This work will allow future generations to utilize a center that was enjoyed by previous generations for many, many years.”

Construction on this project was awarded to Detroit-based, minority-owned KEO & Associates, which is responsible for several other recreation center and park improvement projects.  The architect is Ehresman Associates, Inc.  The Detroit Building Authority is serving as the Owner’s Representative for the Detroit Parks and Recreation Department.

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