More than 4,000 people gathered for the grand opening of Sterling Heights’ new community center on Saturday, where the jubilation among city and community leaders was palpable.
“This is as exciting as it gets,” says the city's Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois, who received a standing ovation at the official launch, for his involvement in the Dodge Park Road facility.
“When we opened Dodge Park I thought that was the highlight but this is eclipsing it,” Langlois says.
The $24 million project is a centerpiece in the city’s Recreating Recreation
project and the 98,000-square-foot complex is home to sports gyms, fitness studios, social spaces and play areas.
Sterling Heights' Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois is proud of the new community center.
For Langlois though, it’s the futsal
courts that have him excited. He describes the soccer variation (played on a smaller, hard court) as a growing trend.
“It's the newest thing coming over from Europe and South America," he says. "We will hold drop-in games on Sundays to get started and we'll see how that ball (no pun intended) gets rolling, and I am sure we'll see more opportunities.”
Joseph V. Romano is happy to admit he impressed with the complex.
Macomb County Commissioner for Sterling Heights, Joseph V. Romano, admits his initial reluctance to support the project with the cost to taxpayers, but says he has since been won over.
“Boy, am I eating my words,” Romano says. “I made a mistake and I am happy to admit that, this is a beautiful facility.”
Metromode finds out what others thought of the new center at the opening:
Sterling Heights resident Takyhia O’Donnell (pictured above, right) says she is impressed with the castle construction in the early childhood center, and that her daughter wants to sign up for the gymnastics program.
Five dance and fitness studios are available at the complex to support the existing Sterling Stars Dance program and adult fitness classes.
Local resident Dawn Dillinger (pictured above) says her favorite addition is the indoor running track, which runs approximately a tenth of a mile around the top of a gymnasium.
“I thought that was amazing, I plan to use that,” she says.
The complex features two high school-sized gymnasiums for basketball, volleyball, pickleball and futsal
. Veterans dodge ball will also be on offer.
“Not only is this an incredible facility, “ says state Sen. Michael MacDonald (pictured left), “This even has bubble hockey. I can’t believe it has that.”
Other spaces include seminar rooms, business facilities and community rooms available for rent, including a events space with a capacity of 400.
A teen room includes study areas, new and retro games like Nintendo Switch and Play Station 4.
Mayor Michael Taylor and his daughter Clara were on hand to celebrate the opening of the complex.
Sterling Heights residents can access the center for free (with ID) and non-residents pay $3 to use the facilities. Children under two-years-old are free.
Abigail Coldicott receives a "swag bag" from Kyle Langlois.
Five-year-old Abigail Coldicott was crowned “mayor for the day”, thanks to her winning entries in a social media competition, and she was asked to help cut the ribbon to declare the building open.
Parks and Recreation supervisor Try Nowotny at the official opening.
"It's a wonderful place for people come together," says Parks and Recreation supervisor Troy Nowotny. "I'm a huge sports advocate so I love having the gymnasiums, it's a fantastic opportunity to provide both youth and adult sports."