Construction vehicles are parked outside the Sterling Heights Community Center across the street from Dodge Park in October. City officials recently announced a Feb. 29 grand opening day for the building.

Construction vehicles are parked outside the Sterling Heights Community Center across the street from Dodge Park in October. City officials recently announced a Feb. 29 grand opening day for the building.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Community center to open Feb. 29 in Sterling Heights

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published January 3, 2020

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STERLING HEIGHTS — The plans to complete Sterling Heights’ upcoming two-story Community Center are finally coming together.

During a Dec. 17 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois gave a progress report on the building’s construction and promised a late-February grand opening.

“(It’s) hard to believe, but we are exactly two months away from receiving the keys to our new community center,” he said.

“Crews are working seven days a week right now, almost 18 hours a day, different shifts, to try and make sure that we hit our timeline on this. And certainly, I’m confident that we will hit our timeline to get our keys.”

Taxpayers are funding the Community Center’s formation through the 2016 Recreating Recreation millage. Langlois said that the building is in “photography purgatory” due to the dust, drywall and work in progress, and he said they expect lots of work to wrap up within a couple of weeks.

Langlois said he wanted to educate the public about the new building’s focus as a community center instead of as a recreation center.

“The building was designed to be a resource for our community as a whole and to fill in the facility gap that we had in relation to our service delivery,” he said. “In essence, this building gives us the opportunity to house under one roof almost all of our programs that we have ... a lot of different areas, we can bring it under one roof, making it more efficient.”

In contrast, Langlois said, recreation centers often behave like private health clubs that focus on amenities for fitness or active lifestyles.

Langlois offered a sneak preview of what residents can expect.

“First, you will see an aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and welcoming building inside and out,” he said. “There’s been a lot of landscaping that has taken place since, but there’s going to be places to sit, places to store items, places to gather, places to admire the architecture and the art of the building.”

He said the building will be a central destination within the city and its city center. Recreation staff will be based there.

Langlois said the community center will have two gymnasiums, an estimated 1/10-mile indoor track, five dance and fitness studios, and an early childhood room with a play area appropriate for kids ages 2-5. It will also have a teen room for studying and for social and gaming purposes. A seminar room will host local organization meetings. A general community room will be used for events like the Cultural Exchange and the Sterling Coffeehouse concerts, he said.

“This area can also be rented by Sterling Heights residents, businesses and community groups only, for low-key functions such as business meetings, wedding and baby showers, funeral wakes, and the like,” he added.

He said he is aware that some people are disappointed about the absence of a swimming pool and a fitness center. But he said residents are eligible to take advantage of a deal with Warren to use its fitness center and pool at resident rates.

“The primary reason for not including these items was available land space — something that we’ve talked about before,” he said. “Secondarily, adding these features would have cost the residents a significant amount of additional money in this millage, both on their taxes and really to use the center forevermore.”

Langlois concluded by announcing the community center’s grand opening day: Feb. 29.

“We’ve found that there’s no more fitting day to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime building than to have it on a once-in-a-four-year kind of a day,” he said.

After Langlois’ presentation, Mayor Pro Tem Liz Sierawski asked about catering options for people renting the community center as a venue.

“Are we going to have in-house catering? Is it only going to be brought in where we have to bring in our own?” she asked.

Langlois said the city is vetting caterers to make the process easier for renters and to ensure that health code regulations are followed.

Find out more about the Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Department by visiting www.myshpr.net or by calling (586) 446-2700.

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