Sterling Heights Community Center Built on Inclusion

The new Sterling Heights Community Center, opened in February 2020, focuses on offering sports and active fun for kids and families of all ability levels.

Photo courtesy of Sterling Heights Parks & Recreation

Families with special needs are right at home at the new Heights Community Center, which opened in late February 2020 with amenities for all abilities.

This creative 98,000-square-foot facility, which is American With Disabilities Act compliant, features two full-size basketball courts, a walking track that’s wheelchair and stroller accessible, teen programs and drop-in options.

It also boasts an early childhood room designed with an interactive “under the sea theme,” including a life-size fishbowl-inspired castle for reading.

A strong history and future

“I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished and what we have planned for the future,” says Rachel Mulawa, the center’s adaptive recreation supervisor.

The city boasts a strong history in adaptive programming that dates back to 1978. Now there’s much more room for those fitness and dance classes, plus gathering areas created with parents and siblings in mind.

“Our programs have been restricted by our space, which is no longer an issue,” Mulawa says, adding that one of the most unique inclusive universal-design amenities in the building is an adult changing table. She hopes more buildings start adding them.

“(This) allows for individuals to be able to spend the day here with family and friends without having to be placed on the public floor or (having their) time shortened around restroom scheduling,” Mulawa says.

Visiting the center

The Sterling Heights Community Center is located at 40250 Dodge Park Road. Its typical hours are 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; the center is closed on Sunday. As of April 2020 the center is closed for COVID-19 concerns; check ahead re-opening dates. Learn more at myshpr.net

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