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For decades, Redford ‘could never afford anything nice.’ Now it’s getting a $19M rec center

Posted By: Hometown Life on March 3, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.


A $19.5 million state-of-the-art recreation and wellness center is coming to Redford Township. And local leaders say it won’t cost taxpayers a dime.

The project includes construction of a 30,000-square-foot facility at the township-owned Western Graham Fields in the central part of the township. The property is on the west side of Beech Daly Road between Five Mile and Schoolcraft roads.

Building plans call for a recreational area, classroom space, therapeutic swimming pool, workout facility, indoor walking track and a fieldhouse with full basketball and pickleball courts.

“This is a very transformative project for Redford Township,” said township Superintendent Diane Webb. “(Redford) is a working, blue-collar community that just never could afford anything nice like this.”

About 80 percent of children in the township qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, Webb said.

Once built, the new center will house the township’s Parks & Recreation programs and will also offer space to the community for meetings and events.

Where’s the money coming from?

On March 2, the Wayne County Commission approved $6.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the new center. Redford’s project was one of nine around the county approved for a total of $34.25 million in ARPA dollars. Each of the projects is aimed at improving environmental sustainability and providing economic recovery to disadvantaged areas following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another $11 million toward the Redford project will come from the $22 million in ARPA funds awarded directly to the township. The other $2 million comes from federal Omnibus Appropriations.

“Redford certainly has nothing like this, and we’re going to be able to build it completely without asking residents for a dime,” Webb said, noting funds for operating expenses at the new building will come from the township’s existing parks and recreation and leisure services budget.

The township will also be looking for sponsorships and naming rights to help reduce the cost of memberships to residents, Webb said.

Part of an economic development plan for Redford

Now that funding is secure, Webb expects the design phase to take about a year, followed by a groundbreaking in spring 2024 and a ribbon cutting by the end of 2025, tentatively.

The new building will be located on the south edge of the township’s downtown development authority district. Township leaders hope it will serve as an economic development catalyst that brings more people to the area and hence more interest from investors and businesses looking to locate to the area.

“This is the major project kickoff for the transformation we want to make in Redford at Five and Beech,” Webb said, noting the township also wants create connectivity between the new building and the walkable downtown it hopes to create around the township’s existing civic campus.

The township, she said, is in the process of developing a 20-year master plan.

“One thing at a time, but down the road we’d really like to do an amphitheater there,” she said.

At the March 2 meeting with the Wayne County Commission, Redford Township Supervisor Pat McRae said the recreation and wellness center would mean residents no longer need to go to neighboring communities to find such amenities.

“We haven’t had anything like this in the township for decades,” McRae said. “This gives an opportunity for residents…to do things in our own community, (and for the township to) expand the programs we can offer and enhance the wellness of everybody in the community.”

A 2022 Year End Report available on the township website highlights steps the township has taken to determine parameters and requirements for the project, including grant requests, a feasibility study, the gathering of public input and other research.

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