Detroit is set to more than double the city’s public rec centers this summer.

A partnership between the city of Detroit and Detroit Public Schools Community District will grow the number of public rec centers, which serve children ages 6 to 17, from 11 to 27 locations.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the new rec centers are an important part of revitalizing the area.

“Detroiters all remember when rec centers across this city shut down,” Duggan said in a joint statement with the DPSCD. “If we are going to build a stronger Detroit, we’ve got to focus on creating safe spaces for our youth and opportunities for them to be successful.”

Detroit shut down 16 recreation centers due to funding cuts from 2006-2013. In order to provide more recreation opportunities for Detroit children this summer, the city approached DPS officials about partnering to provide Detroit youth more options more quickly. The cost of the five-week program is approximately $625,000 or about $40,000 per location for the summer. 

“When the mayor's team approached us with this concept we moved with a sense of urgency to ensure that as many students as possible continued to have access to a safe and productive learning environment while parents and caregivers work over the summer,” said DPSCD Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti in a statement. “I believe this is the first of many partnerships between the city and school district to better utilize and share resources to support our students and communities.”

The 16 new locations will be called “Summer Fun Centers.” Those centers will be in addition to the existing 11 traditional recreation centers. The city has hired 190 “Play Leaders” and supervisory staff to provide adult oversight and structure to the programming. 

After the five-week pilot has ended, the City and DPSCD will evaluate the approach as a possible long-term solution toward filling the recreation center gap that has existed in many neighborhoods for more than a decade.

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.