Duggan unveiling $50M Brewster redevelopment plan
Detroit — Mayor Mike Duggan on Tuesday is detailing a $50 million redevelopment plan to preserve the iconic Brewster Wheeler Recreation Center.
The mayor is announcing the vision for the historic center and planned efforts to rebuild the surrounding residential neighborhood. Among those on hand for the plan unveiling will be Councilwoman Mary Sheffield, Joe Louis Jr. and Mona Ross of the Brush Park Community Development Corporation.
The building where boxer Joe Louis formerly trained has been vacant since 2006 when it was closed due to budget cuts. It had been recommended for demolition last year, but the mayor announced in August that the city would instead seek proposals to redevelop the 51,780-square-foot facility and 6.2-acre lot.
The facility opened in 1929 and was originally known as the Central Community Center.
Until 1945, it was run by Leon Wheeler, the city's first black recreation worker. He launched programs such as swimming, boxing, billiards, woodcraft, a glee club, tap dancing, track, tennis, drama and dancing.
In 1932, the Harlem Globetrotters played their first tour game there against the "Detroit AA" team assembled by Wheeler.