A cellphone displays a concept design for Sterling Heights’ future Community Center at a July 3 groundbreaking ceremony.

A cellphone displays a concept design for Sterling Heights’ future Community Center at a July 3 groundbreaking ceremony.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Sterling unites to welcome Community Center construction

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published July 11, 2018

City officials, residents and supporters united to put the shovel to the dirt and celebrate the July 3 groundbreaking of a new Sterling Heights Community Center.

The $22 million project is being funded through the Recreating Recreation millage that voters narrowly passed via referendum in 2016. As that campaign’s biggest project, the Community Center will be one of the last developments to be finished as part of a three-year campaign — construction will commence this summer, with an expected deadline of December 2019, when the building will be accessible to the public.

The 98,000-square-foot building is set to contain two gyms, five rooms for dance and fitness exercises, as well as miscellaneous activities and programs hosted by the Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Department.

Mayor Michael Taylor said in a statement that the new building will be one of the most significant in the city’s half-century of existence.

“This building will be used by tens of thousands of people every year and undoubtedly be a much-loved addition to Sterling Heights,” he said. “We are greatly looking forward to its construction.”

Previously, the Parks and Recreation Department had held its programming at a recreation center in Dodge Park, but that building was demolished as part of the Dodge Park renovations that took place over the past several months.

The new Community Center site is located at 40250 Dodge Park Road, which is across the street from the Richard J. Notte Sterling Heights City Center: home to City Hall, the public library and the Police Department.

Initial estimates for the new Community Center building came in at 122,000 square feet. Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois explained why the final plan was downsized.

“The new building size is a result of true architect and engineering calculations, where the initial estimate was based on general ideas prior to the full design process,” he said.

“Also, higher-than-expected construction costs with the current economic climate required some square footage reductions.”

Assistant City Manager Jeff Bahorski gave a presentation at the July 3 City Council meeting to talk about some of the recreation upgrades that were publicly unveiled during the city’s June 28 50th anniversary celebration, which included Dodge Park’s reopening.

While mentioning the new farmers market pavilion and sports fields, Bahorski singled out the new splash pad at Dodge Park as a signature venue for families. 

“It generated the most compliments from residents, who seemed genuinely excited that this free venue was available for their children,” he said.

Bahorski thanked several city department heads and contractors for their roles in the recreation upgrades. He also thanked the City Council for “supporting the belief that recreation had the potential to greatly improve the quality of life in this community.”

“This effort would never have gotten off the ground without your support, and your legacy and impact on this city will live on, not only (in) Dodge Park, but in every aspect of Recreating Recreation,” Bahorski said.

“Lastly, we must acknowledge and thank the residents who have been very supportive of making Sterling Heights a better place.”

Find out more about Sterling Heights’ Recreating Recreation plans by visiting www.sterling-heights.net/recreatingrecreation or by calling (586) 446-2489.