Farwell Rec Center’s new $4 million gymnasium turns Eastside families’ 20-year-long dream a reality

  • Residents have lobbied for two decades for new gym since center was built without one in early 2000s
  • Expansion made possible thanks to President Biden's American Rescue Plan
  • $665,000 of additional ARPA funds are allocated to improvements to the existing building, including two dual EV charging stations, parking lot and site enhancements, and IT upgrades


Today the city of Detroit General Services Department, Parks and Recreation Division, alongside residents, announce the opening of Farwell Recreation Center’s new gym. In the early 2000s, Farwell Recreation Center was built, but without a gym. The community has been advocating for one ever since.

“Farwell Recreation Center was built with the promise of a gymnasium in Phase 2, that dream will come to fruition today,” long-time resident and president of Farwell Recreation Advisory Council Oliver Wilson. “I walked into the gymnasium today and my expectations were genuinely satisfied. The completion of the gym is generational, a brick-and-mortar building waiting for memories to be made. Let the fun begin!”

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Long-time resident Oliver Wilson speaks during ribbon cutting ceremony at Farwell Rec Center.


Contractor DeAngelis Diamond broke ground in August 2023 and completed the project June 2024. The new gym is 9,000 sq. ft. and features two inclusive restrooms, one of which will have a shower stall. The total cost of construction is about $4 million and was paid for by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

“The City of Detroit Construction and Demolition Department is honored to have been a part of this historic transformation on the east side,” said LaJuan Counts, Director of Construction and Demolition Department, City of Detroit. “This achievement represents a promise kept to our residents. The new recreation center stands as a testament to our dedication to creating community spaces that promote health, wellness, and engagement.”

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The City of Detroit's Construction and Demolition Department Director LaJuan Counts speaks about the efforts to improve Farwell Rec Center.


An additional $665,000 of ARPA funds will be used to improve the original building, including two dual EV charging stations, parking lot and site enhancements, and IT upgrades.

To commemorate the completion of the new gymnasium, the City of Detroit hosted a community celebration with basketball clinics, gym activities, laser tag, voter registration, face painting and more.

“This is something the community has been vocal about for years.” Crystal Perkins, director of City of Detroit General Services Department. “The families in this neighborhood deserve an indoor facility to play basketball and do other activities especially on scorching hot days, like what we experienced last week. We’re so excited to see the continued difference this new gym will make for our families and programming at Farwell Recreation Center.”

Recent improvements at Farwell Recreation Center are examples of the City of Detroit’s commitment to quality recreation centers. All 13 Detroit recreation centers are in the process of being refreshed; that includes upgrading existing buildings, updating furniture and fixtures, introducing new gear or equipment and more. All refresh projects will be completed June 2025.


Additional photos from community celebration, photos by Dante Rionda

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