Pistons clinic inaugurates UWM community sports center in Pontiac

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

A Detroit Pistons clinic from the Arts and Technology Academy of Pontiac kicked off the opening of United Wholesale Mortgage Holdings Corp.'s youth community sports center on Wednesday.

The Pontiac-based mortgage giant in May said it was investing $10 million to transform the soccer complex on South Boulevard East into a community center open to Pontiac residents for free with basketball and volleyball courts, a training center, and various sports and team-building activities. Wednesday's clinic featured former Michigan State University and NBA player Mateen Cleaves, basketball drills and more.

“Opening this athletic facility to our community is going to create a safe, barrier-free environment for kids to participate in recreational activities and sports,” Mat Ishbia, UWM CEO and former MSU basketball player, said in a statement. “Sports have played such an important role in my life and I want to make it possible for youth in our community to have access to the same opportunities to learn about the importance of team, work ethic and positive attitude, all while having fun.”

UWM a year ago bought the Ultimate Soccer Arenas property near its headquarters for $23.3 million. The 15.8-acre, 378,400 square-foot facility offers eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, a full and 8-v-8 indoor soccer field, an indoor track and an outdoor soccer field. It originally planned to include office space in the facility. The complex temporarily had been used by Oakland County as a COVID-19 vaccination site, too.

An exterior of the UWM Sports Complex, Wednesday afternoon, October 27, 2021.

UWM has said it will work with Pontiac-based ReImagine Recreation LLC and Pontiac Community Foundation for programming and transportation, respectively. The center will feature after-school activities, camps, leagues, tutoring, literacy programs, arts and crafts and more. Pay-to-play soccer leagues and clubs also will continue to be available on multiple fields, both indoor and outdoor.

ATAP students participate in warmups at the basketball clinic, Wednesday afternoon, October 27, 2021.

“For many, the costs associated with using a state-of the-art athletic facility like this would seem out of reach," Steve Sack, owner of ReImagine Recreation, said in a statement.

Former MSU basketball great and NBA player Mateen Cleaves addresses students at the UWM Sports Complex, Wednesday afternoon, October 27, 2021. Cleaves is a UWM Leadership Coach.

Added Dustin McClellan, founder and CEO of Pontiac Community Foundation, in a statement: "Transportation has been a long-standing barrier, inhibiting children and families from regularly accessing facilities like this one. Through our collaborative efforts we hope to eliminate that barrier.”

Members of the community who are interested in field time must put in a request with the facility by calling 248-515-7362.


Twitter: @BreanaCNoble