Heights council considers demolition of Canfield Arena

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The City Council is considering the demolition of the vacant Canfield Arena, 2100 Kinloch, after developer Elite Sports Training proposed the idea during a study session on June 5.

Elite Sports Training Owner Makki Make and General Manager Rob Fay presented the idea of tearing down the building and starting from scratch to create a new facility.

A new facility would cost Elite another $450,000 to tear down the building on top of the $250,000 already planned for the project, totaling an estimated $700,000.

The company won the bid to develop the center in February under the original plan of bringing the current building up to code and adding the sports amenities.

Elite Sports Training’s original proposal included significant building improvements and upgrades, but Make and Fay believe a new building would be the better route for the sports facility.

The new plan still includes batting cages, golfing, artificial turf and upgrading the baseball fields for youth athletic programs and other organizations that would rent time at the facility.

“We want to make a warm, accommodating setting for children to play and practice,” Makki said. “Our goal is to make a top notch facility that people want to visit.”

When asked about a timeline for construction, Fay said that if a new building was built, completion would be scheduled for Nov. 1, and if the current building was brought up to code and renovated then the completion would be scheduled for Sept. 1.

“We want to get this going and be open for the fall and winter months because if we knew our completion date we’d have the faculty booked in advance from now,” Fay said.

Makki said the facility would have new electrical, lighting, concessions and baseball field upgrades. Baseball field renovations feature new dugouts, clay, drainage system and possibly a sprinkler system which also aim to help prevent injuries.

Over the years, Makki has assisted with upgrading the Crestwood High School baseball fields by adding new clay, dugouts and drainage system.

“People travel to play at familiar facilities and get turf time at cities all around Dearborn Heights and we have a big opportunity here to generate revenue,” he said. “I want to keep the local youth involved in our community as much as I can.”

During the study session, Makki also told the council he is working with Parks & Recreation Director Ken Grybel on the facility’s design to ensure it fits with its location.

When asked by Councilman Dave Abdallah about the changes in the new proposal from the business side, Fay said that has not changed and the RFP will remain the same.

Makki and Fay presented the city with a 15-year lease agreement proposal that could generate $30,000 a year in revenue for Elite Sports Training.

An amount for rent to be paid for the city will still need to be negotiated.

Mayor Daniel Paletko said both sides have been communicating well to get the new proposal done and a framework has been given by Elite Sports Training to the city.

Councilman Ray Muscat said he was excited about the facility’s possibilities.

“The brand new building would be a win-win for the city,” he said.

The city-owned Canfield Arena was condemned in 2017 and has remained vacant since then due to rodent, electrical and exit issues along with late payments from the former tenant.

Councilman Tom Wencel was absent from the study session.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)

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