Detroit Evening Report: New space donated to Detroit PAL; Merit Park facility breaks ground and more

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A rendering of Merit Park, a community-operated urban sports park for local youth.

A rendering of Merit Park, a community-operated urban sports park for local youth.

On the latest episode of the Detroit Evening Report, we cover a new office space donated to the Detroit Police Athletic League; a new facility being built in northwest Detroit aimed at serving young Detroiters and more.

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Detroit Police Athletic League gets new space

The Detroit property management software company Revela is donating its former office space to the Detroit Police Athletic League. Detroit PAL has invited the Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center to share the space. Revela will cover the cost of the lease — a donation equivalent to more than $275,000 — through December of 2027, according to a news release.

The refugee center will use the space to continue providing low cost and free legal services to those looking to live in Detroit. Detroit PAL will host some of its athletic, youth enrichment, and educational leadership programs at the new site.  

Construction begins at Detroit’s Merit Park

Construction in the Oakland Boulevard neighborhood has begun on Merit Park, a community facility aimed at serving young Detroiters. The facility is being developed by Give Merit, a non-profit that mentors young people to fulfill academic and career goals. 

Programming at the community center will include athletics, arts, fashion and more. Next door to the facility will be a park with outdoor activities as well as food and retail vendors. 

Give Merit has raised over $10 million for the site so far. The facility is expected to open in the Summer of 2025. 

Gaza fundraiser at Mothlight Microcinema

Mothlight Microcinema is screening a 16-millimeter documentary film, “Gaza Ghetto: Portrait of a Palestinian Family,” at 8 p.m. on Friday. Mothlight is a nomadic microcinema that shows experimental and independent films at a variety of venues. It also runs filmmaking workshops in Detroit. Gaza Ghetto was the first feature-length movie to be filmed in Gaza in the 1980s. 

Director of Mothlight, Julia Yezbick, says her microcinema project — and artists at large — have a unique ability to shed light on Gaza. 

“With an organization like Mothlight, that is also, like we are not tied to an institution, we are artist-run. We have the ability to speak our minds without feeling like afraid of retribution and so I feel like it really is incumbent upon the artists and people who can perhaps with less fear than others to speak out now,” said Yezbick.  

The event will include a panel discussion and screening at Trinosophes, 1464 Gratiot Ave., Detroit.

DIA seeking ofrendas for Día de Muertos exhibition

In Celebration of Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is partnering with Detroit’s Mexican Consulate, the Southwest Detroit Business Association and MexicantownCDC to create a community exhibition of ofrendas, or offering altars. Day of the Dead is the time of year to celebrate and remember loved ones who have passed away.  

Through June 3, the museum is accepting proposals of ofrenda displays that will feature objects important to lost loved ones, like favorite foods, drinks, mementos and pictures. Displays will be decorated in traditional Día de Muertos décor like pan de muerto (bread of the dead) sugar skulls, candles, flowers and more.  

Visit the DIA’s website and search Día de Muertos 2024 for more information. 

Juneteenth Detroit Student Poetry Contest

The City of Detroit’s Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity Department is seeking entries for its annual Juneteenth Detroit Student Poetry Contest. Detroit Students in grades nine through 12 are eligible to submit poems. Each poem must either talk about Detroit Black history, Black historical or current figures, or answer the question “what does your blackness mean to you?”

First place prize is $250, and participants may have a chance to perform their poem at the City’s Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom in the Spirit Plaza. Entry Deadline is May 31. For Questions Call Crio at 313-224-4950.  

WDET’s Ridaa Khan and Marco Cardamone contributed to this report.

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  • Bre'Anna Tinsley
    Bre'Anna Tinsley is a reporter for Detroit Public Radio, 101.9 WDET. She covers city government and housing, as well as co-hosting the "Detroit Evening Report" podcast.