Help us Complete Phase One
We need the passion and support of the surrounding community and others across the country who are determined to rebuild America. We're running a campaign to rebuild Callahan Playground's once well-used basketball court to begin restoring our neighborhood and to start a larger conversation about beautifying the park as a whole.
Callahan Playground - Then and Now
Callahan Playground has seen much more vibrant days, as has the surrounding neighborhood. Through the first half of the twentieth century, this neighborhood was packed with working class Detroiters. The park itself bustled with children of workers in the thriving auto industry. They were largely of Eastern European ethnicity and after school during the winter would skate on an ice rink in the park. By the 1970s, the demographics and economy of Detroit were changing drastically. Those changes came through the Callahan Playground area, making the neighborhood’s name (Poletown) less relevant and bringing a population that was more interested in basketball than ice hockey.
A passionate group of volunteers give their day to tear out the existing court.
The city built a basketball court in the park, which saw its best days in the early 1980s and the park was subsequently unmaintained. Corruption and a collapsed tax base prevented the city from keeping up investment in its parks. But it’s a different time now for Detroit, and Callahan Playground represents a great opportunity for making a community-centered statement about this new era.
Our Dream Court
A rendering of the court and its layout in the park.
The goal now is to build a new basketball court and reinvent Callahan Playground. One new role of the park will be to serve the youth who live around it. Though the numbers of children are not what they once were, there are still children in the neighborhood and they currently lack the basketball court that should exist there. Mothers of young children on nearby blocks want a place for their children to play that is outside but is a safe and directed environment close to home. The older neighbors remember the former court and are excited to watch a new generation enjoy the park.
A blank slate.
About Detroit Recreation Department PARTNERS Program
The Detroit Recreation Department has been in the forefront of developing creative approaches to the changing needs of urban recreation. Currently we offer youth the opportunity to be involved in non-traditional sports, such as archery, fencing, water polo and wrestling, which may lead to scholarship opportunities.
In the 1980’s the Recreation Department developed PARTNERS, as a response to financial constraints that confronted the city. PARTNERS is a cooperative effort on the part of the Detroit Recreation Department and the community. It is your opportunity to contribute to quality recreation in the metropolitan Detroit area. Individuals block clubs, associations, and corporations are invited to become PARTNERS of the Detroit Recreation Department.