Nonprofit to open new multipurpose center

Illustration courtesy of HYPE Athletics

The front view (top) and side view (bottom) for the new 110,000-suare-foot HYPE Athletics recreational center.

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — A nonprofit organization soon will open a new recreation center here.

The 110,000-square-foot building at the northwest corner of Warren and Ann Arbor Trail will contain amenities such as basketball and volleyball courts, a weight room, an indoor track and a 10,000-square-foot pool. Indoor soccer fields also are planned, and HYPE Athletics President Ali Sayed hopes to begin work on them as soon as possible.

“It’s going to include a mixed martial arts training center, and our dream is to obviously build, on a separate location, our indoor soccer programs,” he said.

The facility’s November groundbreaking was attended by Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano and Heights Mayor Daniel Paletko.

Sayed expects construction on the building to begin soon and said he hopes to have it finished and ready by Nov. 1. Part of the cost will come from funds raised during HYPE’s 10th anniversary dinner, to be held Friday at the Greenfield Manor Banquet Hall, 4770 Greenfield.

Wayne County has donated $7 million in Neighborhood Stabilzation Program funds to the project.

“The county saw HYPE as an eligible candidate for this funding based on our plan and the services we offer,” Sayed said, “and they came through for us big, even with the land.”

Sayed said he also is seek contributions from many other entities, including businesses, foundations and governments, and that a planned second phase could start immediately after the center opens, depending on when donations arrive.

The center will be open to all Wayne County residents.

Founded in 2001, HYPE Athletics is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to help children stay off streets with sports and other activities.

A basketball tournament for high school-age children was its first major event and was aimed at moving participants away from rivalries between high schools. It provided a drug-free, violence-free environment that promoted a diverse atmosphere, Sayed said, adding that diversity was a main focus for HYPE at the beginning.

He hopes to re-create that atmosphere at the Dearborn Heights facility, which also will seek to draw adults and younger children.

“Regardless of who wins that competition or that game, they’re still going to shake hands and they’re still going to be friends after that game,” he said. “And I have to say, that’s the happiest part of everything that we’re doing.”

Sayed said the tournament experience also led him to organize other children’s programs, including athletic camps. In the process, he said, organizers noticed a social gap between children because of their different backgrounds, and hope to continue finding ways to minimize those gaps at the new facility.

Sayed credits Dearborn Heights officials and Wayne County with helping get latest HYPE project off the ground.

“This site was meant to happen,” he said. “Wayne County worked with us, and we were able to purchase that property from them for a very reasonable rate, and it’s going to be our home.

“Every party that’s involved is welcoming the new site and the new location for that project.”

The new recreation center will be operated collaboratively by HYPE, Wayne County and Zaman International, another nonprofit organization. Sayed said the facility also will be used as a food bank, resale clothing center and vocational training for battered and abused women.

“For the past 15 years, our Hope for Humanity programs have been designed to meet the basic needs of marginalized mothers, children and seniors,” said Najah Bazzy, Zaman founder and executive director, said in a statement. “The collaboration allows us to look at the ‘whole person or family,’ and work to rebuild the physical and social aspects necessary to move beyond poverty and marginalization.”

“What we’re envisioning is that (everyone) can come to this facility for a multitude of services,” Sayed said. “We want to make this center a one-stop shop for the entire family.”

(Contact Daniel Heraty at