The City of Detroit is reopening four of its recreation centers this month. Many of the usual recreational programs such as swimming lessons, athletics and after-school activities will return, but there will also be an effort to get residents outside during all four seasons as part of a focus on health and wellness.
The city kicked off the reopening of the first four centers in phase one of its reopening plan Sept. 20. Since closing last year due to the pandemic, the department completed major renovations and improvements to Adams Butzel Complex and Patton Recreation Center. Lasky Recreation Center and Farwell Recreation Center also reopened this week.
Keith Flournoy, Detroit’s deputy director of Detroit Parks and Recreation, says the city took advantage of the downtime and funding that became available to do some “much-needed renovations” at the recreation centers.
Flournoy says residents can expect to see many of the programs the city has offered in the past such as athletics and aquatics. The city has also incorporated enrichment program and services to address critical needs during the pandemic, such as using the recreation centers as sites for families to pick up food.
“Because of the pandemic, we had to pivot and do some things out of the box as a recreation agency,” he says. “We were … a valuable part of the COVID-19 response for the community by providing meal service to a lot of families that were left unserved or underserved, because of the school closings.”
Looking ahead, Flournoy says the city aims to get people outdoors all year-round.
“Michigan is a four-season state, so we want to teach people how to get out and enjoy winter activities,” he says. “We’re looking at snowshoeing, cross country skiing, doing bonfires and different games and activities.”
He adds: “We want to encourage people to continue to recreate but we want to make sure to do it safely, and try to add as many outdoor programs as we can to get people outdoors … regardless of the season.”
Listen: Keith Flournoy on how Detroit Parks and Recreation filled critical needs during the pandemic.