Kids play video games inside the Sterling Heights Community Center. The city plans to upgrade the Community Center’s Teen Room by adding an esports arena for competitive video gaming.

Kids play video games inside the Sterling Heights Community Center. The city plans to upgrade the Community Center’s Teen Room by adding an esports arena for competitive video gaming.

Photo provided by the city of Sterling Heights


Credit union donation aids equipping of esports arena

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published June 29, 2021

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STERLING HEIGHTS — City officials are pressing start on upgrading the Sterling Heights Community Center’s Teen Room into a forum for esports competitive gaming, thanks to city funds and the support of a credit union’s sponsorship.

During a June 15 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, city Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois said his department is “moving full-steam ahead” with installing an esports arena, which will accommodate video game leagues, tournaments and more.

The City Council approved the initial funding for the esports arena in May via the adoption of the 2021-22 budget, and on June 1, the council approved a net payment of $10,830 for esports furniture and its warranty, delivery and installation.

“The next step is now to finalize the specifications for the computers and get the equipment on order with plans to open the esports arena in August or September, depending on how quickly the computers can be produced,” Langlois said.

The total cost of getting the arena ready — enough furniture, computers and gaming equipment to make 12 gaming stations — has an estimated $50,000 cost in its first year, according to city officials.

However, the city is getting help in covering the costs. Over a four-year span, Christian Financial Credit Union will donate $25,000 to the esports arena. As a result, the credit union will be deemed the arena’s sponsor

Langlois thanked CFCU for the donation.

“The contribution provided has allowed us to not compromise anything with this room,” he said. “We don’t have to compromise on our furniture. We don’t have to compromise on the quality of the computer equipment.

“These are two key factors in providing a top-level facility for gamers to enjoy, making them want to leave their living rooms and their homes to come interact with other gamers here in our Community Center.”

CFCU Marketing Manager Ashley Maye then spoke and said her organization is about helping people, and investing in the Community Center Teen Room and esports does that.

“Our hope is for …  the young community members of Sterling Heights to have a safe and fun place to meet with friends, study and participate in e-gaming tournaments,” Maye said.


Council members react
When it was time for City Council members to speak, Mayor Pro Tem Liz Sierawski said all four of her sons are gamers, and she believes that they would’ve loved this setup as teens.

Councilwoman Barbara Ziarko wondered if anyone was considering an eventual expansion for the esports arena, adding that the Teen Room might not be large enough.

Councilman Michael Radtke mentioned talking to members of the Youth Advisory Board recently, and they discussed the importance of hangout spots.

“I joked around that when I was a kid, I went to the arcade,” Radtke said. “And they said, ‘Yeah, the arcade has all these retro games.’ And I felt at that moment very, very old.”

Mayor Michael Taylor said esports is becoming a multibillion dollar industry. He said the city is already hosting Monday gaming nights, and he said there are not a lot of esports arenas out there locally, adding that “we’re sort of on the cutting edge of this, and I’m proud that the city of Sterling Heights is taking a lead in this regard.”

“It’s incredible. It’s just a totally different world that we’re really jumping into, and I appreciate it,” he said.

The Sterling Heights Community Center is located at 40250 Dodge Park Road. Learn more about the city’s Parks and Recreation Department by visiting www.myshpr.net or by calling (586) 446-2700. Find out more about Christian Financial Credit Union in Sterling Heights by visiting www.christianfinancialcu.com.

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