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Detroit seeks nonprofits, churches to host summer programs for children

City will provide money needed

DETROIT – Twenty recreation centers have closed in Detroit in the last 40 years, and 19 remain for 700,000 people.

Mayor Mike Duggan and the city have come up with a plan.

Tonisha Woods lives on the east side, and she said there aren't many places or programs for her two boys to attend in the summer.

Keenann Knox is the pastor of Impact Church. He said he agrees.

"I think it's only one recreation center on the east side of Detroit that kids go to," Knox said. "So many children here, and they really need something to engage their minds."

Enter the city of Detroit and its new idea: to offer summer activity centers inside churches and nonprofits.

"It wasn't realistic for the city to build lots of new recreation centers across the city, but what was realistic was for us to be into partnering with great spaces in our city," said Alexis Wiley, Duggan's chief of staff.

The city is asking for applications now. If the space meets specific requirements, the city will allocate $20,000 for capital improvements. The city will provide play leaders and staff. During the months of June through August, kids will have recreation, STEM classes and two meals per day.

The program comes at a cost to the city.

"We can think of no better investment than in the city's children," Wiley said.

Woods said she is on board with this plan. She said her boys, Ricky and Ryan, will absolutely love it. 

"That will be an excellent opportunity," Woods said. "It's something positive in the city to get the kids active and learning."

Churches and nonprofits that are interested in the program can attend an informational workshop on Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. at Northwest Activities Center.

Proposals are due Oct. 21.