The Detroit Pistons and the City of Detroit recently put the finishing touches on 17 refurbished basketball courts, completing a two-phase, six-year, $2.5 million program to refurbish 60 courts within parks.
Completion of the Phase II courts comes a week after the team opened the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center, a $90 million training center and corporate headquarters in Midtown.
“Our move downtown has been a huge win for our franchise and for the community,” says Tom Gores, owner of the Pistons. “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made and the way the city continues coming together. At the same time, we are still just getting started. Efforts like the parks program are further extending our reach and will allow us to make an even bigger impact.”
Court refurbishments in Phase II included single basketball courts at Optimist-Stout Park, Dequindre-Grixdale Park, Keller Park, Adam Butzel Park, Palmer Park, Tolan Playfield, and Piwok Park. Double court refurbishments were made at Van Antwerp Park and O’Hair Park while six courts were redone at Lasky Park.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan views the completion of Phase II as an important milestone in continued fulfillment of the community benefits agreement between the Pistons and the city and an opportunity to increase basketball participation and promote further utilization of city parks.
“When the Pistons moved back to Detroit, we knew it was going to have a great positive impact on our city, but we also wanted to make sure the benefits were felt by the entire city, not just downtown,” Duggan says. “Today, kids can go out to their neighborhood park and play a pick-up basketball game on brand new courts, made possible by the Pistons. We’re going to keep going throughout the city, renovating more courts in more parks so that everyone has that opportunity. This is the kind of investment that the youth of Detroit deserve.”
There are 37 more courts that will be refurbished over the next four years, according to the Parks Department master plan.
Basketball court refurbishments at each location include needed repairs to court surfaces, up-to-date rims, stanchions, and basketball infrastructure. Additionally, each court will be repainted with proper basketball court markings and beautified to increase the aesthetic value of the parks. As part of the Pistons’ agreement, the city of Detroit will oversee maintenance for the completed courts.
To stimulate use of the new courts, the Pistons launched a six-week Basketball for All program over the summer. Between July 18 and Aug. 23, the NBA team provided an hour of programming in each park geared towards youngsters and adults. Activities included Pistons Academy youth basketball clinics, youth activities in partnership with Playworks, and adult yoga in partnership with Yoganic Flow. All programming was free and available to everyone within each neighborhood.
“Renovating courts is not where our commitment ends, but it’s just the beginning,” says Arn Tellem, vice chairman of the Pistons. “As part of our Basketball for All initiative, we successfully launched the Pistons Neighbors Program to engage the neighborhoods and activate our newly renovated courts during the summer months. We look to extend this program to additional parks next summer by deploying our Pistons Academy program as a mechanism for teaching basketball skills and introducing additional programming such as adult yoga and youth activities that promote health and fitness, education, and equality.”