Detroit’s first climate resilient community center, the A.B. Ford Park New Community Center (formerly Lenox Center) aims to be a responsive community space surrounded by an expansive public park that improves access to the waterfront. A main goal is for the completed project to increase economic potential and serve as a genuine extension of the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood’s rich cultural fabric. The new Community Center will be a state-of-the-art facility built outside the floodplain and will serve as a new community space as well as a sustainable resilience hub during emergencies, where residents can access shelter, power, and supplies. The new center, designed with solar panels and sustainable cross laminated timber (CLT), will include flexible space for indoor youth sports, community events, classrooms, and quiet learning spaces.
This project required thorough planning and consensus building to foster community engagement. Our collaborative approach emphasized consistent communication with the city and local stakeholders. A series of surveys provided opportunities for the community to share their desires for the new recreation center; the results were synthesized into two final plans for the community to vote on. A groundbreaking ceremony took place in May 2022. We are honored and excited to be involved in this project, which, thanks to the participation of the Jefferson-Chalmers community, will positively impact future generations.