Penske Corp. is committing $5 million to help improve Detroit’s Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood on the city’s east side.
The corporation’s namesake, businessman and auto racing legend Roger Penske, says Detroit’s mayor suggested working on the area as part of the city’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund.
Penske says the first project involves renovating and reopening the Lenox Community Center.
“It’s been shut down since 2011. We’re gonna bring it back,” Penske said. “We’re gonna add a gymnasium for young people. So I think it’s just another piece of work that we can do to support the city and certainly as we move from the city into the neighborhoods. I think it’s a real mission.”
City officials stress that they worked with community members in Jefferson Chalmers to collaboratively develop a plan for bringing new stores and housing to the neighborhood.
It’s the kind of effort Penske says moves Detroit’s resurgence beyond downtown and Midtown, something he says is vital for the city as a whole.
“We want the neighborhoods to feel like they’re part of a growing city. Unemployment is down, people are getting work down here with (expansion by automaker) FCA coming in,” he said.
“These are all positives. Investment is key to the city. If we can have jobs for people who don’t have them (then) we can work on education. All of these things are key,” Penske said.
Officials say work on the Lenox Center should begin in about a year, with a Grand Opening tentatively set for next fall.