The Kemeny Recreation Center in Southwest Detroit has reopened thanks to a $9.5 million renovation by the City of Detroit.
Located in the Boynton neighborhood, the renovation and expansion includes:
- A new gymnasium
- New multi-purpose rooms; facilities for sports, fitness and other activities; and a new kitchen
- A new parking lot
- New electrical, mechanical and roof systems throughout
The old building was 20,826 square feet. With the addition of the new gym, the building expands to 29,026 square feet.
The center is named after WWII soldier Charles Kemeny, who was killed in combat in France in August 1944. He graduated from Holy Redeemer High School in the Delray neighborhood, and his parents owned a market nearby on Pleasant Street. To learn more about Charles Kemeny please click here.
“We know how important Kemeny has been to this community because of its history and the recreational opportunities it has offered to the residents in this area,” says Mayor Mike Duggan. “Now, thanks to this beautiful renovation and expansion, the Kemeny Recreation Center will be here for generations of families living in southwest Detroit.”
Originally opened in 1957, the center was the hub of the Fort/Schaefer community offering residents swimming, arts and crafts and quilting lessons. 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.
Marathon Petroleum, which is located near Kemeny, donated $2 million towards the $9.5-million renovation and expansion. In addition, Kemeny Park, located adjacent to the center, was completely renovated in 2017.
“We are happy to give back to our community and the residents who supported the expansion of our operations,” says David Roland, Marathon Petroleum, refinery general manager. “This shows our commitment to both our local community and the city of Detroit.”
The construction contractor on this project was Detroit-based, minority-owned KEO & Associates, which is responsible for several other recreation centers and park improvement projects. The architect was Ehresman Associates, Inc. The Detroit Building Authority served as the owner’s representative for the Detroit Parks and Recreation Division.
Kemeny was the oldest existing city recreation center to not have undergone a major renovation.
Top photo: Rendering from project construction contractor Detroit-based, minority-owned KEO & Associates