Closed Detroit rec centers become target for thieves

(WXYZ) - Recreation centers used to be the heart of Detroit neighborhoods.  Since closing, the buildings have become a target for thieves and a playground for graffiti artists.

On Detroit's west side, the old Johnson Recreation Center is still standing. Inside, we're told, has been gutted by scrappers. 

The neighborhood church has taken on the job of maintaining the grounds. 

Sharon Williams remembers when the building wasn't a drain on the neighborhood, but an asset. 

"They had everything in there. Swimming, sports, everything for the kids." said Williams.

On the city's east side, the location of the Maheras-Gentry Rec Center is real estate gold.  But the building itself, isn't so valuable. The pool now looks like a toxic tank and inside, thieves ripped out the pipes and stole anything of value.  Walk into the gym, every wall is covered in graffiti.

Neighbors would like to see something done with the vacant buildings, so they can be useful once again to the community.

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