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Monday, August 29, 2016

The Cost of Reopening Johnson Center - Starting from Ground Zero to Completion by 2018

By Richard C. Clement
     Friends of George Cushingberry Jr.

Johnson Recreation Center was built in the 1950’s on the corner of Cherrylawn and Chippewa in Detroit Michigan. The Center sits on Joe Louis Park that is maintained by the City of Detroit General Services Division. This historical structure was the only place that allowed African Americans to swim in the City of Detroit.  This was an outdoor pool that was easily accessible to citizens in Northwest Detroit and Southern Oakland County.  (Click Here for Park History). The pool was modified by building new construction around the current structure. Now citizens in the neighborhood are restless as this once great and historical structure sits empty and being used for a storage dump.

Bringing Johnson Center online in its current condition will cost $750,000 and the same amount per month to maintain. This is because of the plumbing and other code violations that are now out of compliance with today’s building code and energy saving standards.

To demolish the old center will cost $250,000 and, the proposed new center will have an 8 lane pool and diving board.  Improvements like energy efficient, tank-less water heaters, motion sensors attached to lights and, self-generating power with solar cells with lower monthly operational costs. This plan includes an 8 lane Olympic sized pool with 3 and 10 meter diving boards at a cost of $180 per square foot. Additionally a new Gym will contain rooms for boxing, arts, and community meetings.

This project will help to restore our neighborhood instead of Downtown/Midtown Detroit.

The procedure of demolishing the old and rebuilding the new will result in lower monthly maintenance costs that over time cost much less to maintain. To finance this project Councilmember Pro-Tem George Cushingberry Jr. is recommending that we approach the Department of Housing and Urban Development for up to $20 million in funding and, seek grants from philanthropic organizations.  Johnson Center may be eligible for historic status by the City and, that will give us access to more money for the project.

If you are interested in signing the petition to reopen the center please click here to sign the petition in support of revitalizing Johnson Center for the neighborhood. 

By signing this petition you are putting your elected officials on notice that we want something done and we want results now.  According to Dwight Smith, President of the 8 Mile Old Timers Association, they have over 1700+ signatures now and we are using this list to show how much support is in the surrounding neighborhood for the center.

Feel free to voice your concerns to my fellow City Council Members and Mayor Mike Duggan. We want you to contact your State Senator Ian Conyers, State Representatives LeslieLove, Laytonya Garrett, and Wendell Byrd in Lansing MI to get on board with the program. We feel that the best way to start taking back our neighborhoods is, through the re-establishment of the neighborhood rec-centers because, there is never enough money to invest in our children.

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