Southfield rec center renovations on track to be completed in January 2018

Renovations are underway at Southfield's Beech Woods Recreation Center. And while the improvements being made should make a better experience for everyone, the renovations will especially improve access for those residents making use of wheelchairs and other devices.

Among the improvements being made is the installation of a new elevator, significant because Beech Woods is the home of the southeast Michigan Jr. wheelchair basketball program. A second phase of renovations will see the repair of a handicap-accessible ramp, providing access to the Beech Woods picnic area. That picnic area is also scheduled to be improved.

Access, however, is just part of the renovation budget. Also included in the updates is a new floor for the gymnasium, updated locker room, and a renovated office space and lobby. The wellness center will also be expanded.

"The extensive renovations taking place at Beech Woods will provide residents with a vastly improved facility and amenities," Parks & Recreation Director Terry Fields said in a statement. "We’re very excited about the upgrades that will be made to the wellness center, gymnasium, office space, lobby and other improvements that will make Beech Woods more user-friendly and customer focused."

As a result of the renovations, the Parks & Recreation department's programs and offices have been moved to the John Grace Community Center, 21030 Indian St. For those voting in Precincts 34 and 35 in the Nov. 7, 2017, general election, polling stations have been temporarily moved to the Beech Woods Pro Shop, which is located on the original Beech Woods campus.

In January 2017, Southfield City Council approved a $2.5 million budgets for the renovations, which are scheduled to be completed in January 2018. Construction began in September 2017. Phase two of the project, which includes access to and improvement of the Beech Woods picnic area is funded in part by a Recreation Passport Grant, which itself is funded by the state's sale of recreation passports.

Beech Woods Recreation Center is located at 22200 Beech Rd. in Southfield.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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