Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Detroit — Crews broke ground Monday on a $14 million sports dome at Chandler Park that will be used for everything from basketball to pickleball to give families, kids and residents on the city’s east side even more options for sports, especially during the winter.

Construction on the 130,000-square-foot Chandler Park Fieldhouse is highly anticipated, said Alex Allen, president and CEO of Chandler Park Conservancy. It will include a multiuse court for basketball, volleyball and pickleball, along with a football field and track for indoor sports, including the Soccer in the D program. There also will be multipurpose rooms for activities, administrative offices, shower rooms and inclusive bathrooms.

Detroit City Council member Latisha Johnson speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Chandler Park Fieldhouse at Chandler Park in Detroit on January 22, 2024.

“People need to know that this dome was a part of our master plan years ago. Our community helped design this and we thank the general service department. This won’t be a recreation center, this will be a place where people come together to do great things for the city,” he said.

Although it was too cold to place shovels in the ground Monday, crews placed fencing around a portion of the park and construction trucks have rolled in. The city is using $14 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, pandemic relief funds, for the project.

Workers operating equipment move dirt at the site of the Chandler Park Fieldhouse after a press conference celebrating the groundbreaking for the $14 million Chandler Park Fieldhouse at Chandler Park in Detroit on January 22, 2024.

Mayor Mike Duggan said during a press conference at the park that he was a soccer dad of four kids and understood how limited the indoor options are from November to March.

“Today is a day that Detroit kids finally get a multi-sports dome they deserve and the suburban kids have had,” he said.

Outside the fieldhouse there will be 200-space parking lot with bioswales for sustainable stormwater management in the flood-prone zone.

A rendering of the 130,000-square-foot Chandler Park Fieldhouse shows how it will include an indoor field for both soccer and football.

The idea for the dome came from Chief Operating Officer Brad Dick who initially planned for Jayne Park near Hamtramck. That was before Detroit Councilwoman Latisha Johnson argued that there were no indoor sports facilities in District 4.

Johnson said it was essential to promote the fieldhouse because recreation provides good health and social benefits for residents, “which was taken away from us during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A rendering shows what the new fieldhouse dome will look like at Chandler Park. Crews broke ground Monday on the facility which will have a variety of courts and fields for soccer, basketball, football and pickleball.

“We are appreciative of the conversations we’ve had to make sure this is inclusive,” Johnson said. “It is centrally located so all of our residents have access to it. We want to live, work and play in the district. It’s time to wrap our arms around our young people. We know property values are rising in the city and this amenity will help to further that.”

Shay Lewis, Detroit’s Athletic Director from the city’s east side, said their Soccer in the D program started in 2019 with 275 kids and has expanded to 3,500 participants now.

A rendering of the Chandler Park Athletic Complex at a press conference celebrating the groundbreaking for the $14 million Chandler Park Fieldhouse at Chandler Park in Detroit on January 22, 2024.

“We will be able to continue to expand our league with year-round indoor programming while also expanding our non-traditional sports like lacrosse, volleyball, pickleball, tennis golf, and even hand-ball that our families have been asking for more of,” Lewis said. “We’re excited about how important this is for our youth to help them build teamwork skills, make friends, hard work, and a healthy lifestyle. For seniors, this is a safe space where they can exercise on the indoor track and access programming without the hassle of outside elements.”

srahal@detroitnews.com

X:@SarahRahal_

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