Detroit taking proposals that could save the Brewster Wheeler Rec Center

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is sending a message to businesses in the metro area, he wants your ideas on how to repurpose the historic Brewster Wheeler Recreation Center.

“As you rebuild a city that’s what you’re going to do,” Mayor Duggan tells Action News. “You get new and modern uses in a way that embraces your culture and your history,” he said. And that’s what he’s hoping will happen as the city starts to take proposals from businesses.

The countdown started this morning when the Mayor was joined by representatives from the city council as well as Brush Park. Among those in the crowd many who once sought refuge in this building years ago including Virginia Lawrence.

“I was out the hospital with polio and I came for the water. First day I jumped in I almost drowned,” Lawrence said.

The recreation center opened up in 1929. Sports greats like Joe Louis, Mike Tyson were among those who used the facility. Diana Ross frequented center, too. It’s a place that many back in the day would frequent.

Now the Mayor wants companies with an interest in Detroit to step up to the plate. Bring to the forefront ideas on how they would embrace this historic landmark. The city announcing they are now taking proposals.

“I don’t know if we’re going to be successful or not but the reason we’re doing this is we’re going to give it our best effort,” the Mayor said. “We’ll see what the proposals look like and if there’s any way to save this building.”

In the meantime, the Mayor adds the building is not off the demolition just yet but he’s hoping through these proposals they may be able to save it. “It’ll be a great day if we can get this building reused,” the Mayor said.

For Virginia and others in the crowd listening to the Mayor this morning, they stare at the building holding onto memories.

"I mean I lived here. I met my husband here. I learned how to roller-skate here. I learned how to be a leader here and I was on the swimming team."

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