Nonprofit organization Life Remodeled broke ground on construction of a new football field for Detroit’s Cody High School on July 11. The Detroit Lions will donate goal posts as part of a plan by Life Remodeled to renovate the school and its surrounding neighborhood this summer.
The Cody Comets’ former field sat on the same location as the new field until 2006 when vandalism and lack of irrigation caused the turf to become unplayable, forcing the team to play all games at “away” venues. When completed, the field will also be home to eight Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) youth football teams and one Detroit PAL youth soccer team.
The 90,000-square-foot synthetic turf gridiron will be built on the Stein Playfield, just northwest of the school.
The cost of the athletic field project is $650,000, of which $291,000 has already been raised. Major contributors include the Skillman Foundation, the United Auto Workers and a number of metro-area churches.
“Life Remodeled has always operated financially on a just-in-time basis,” says Founder and President Chris Lambert. “All of our projects have been nail-biters, often with labor, materials and money not coming through until the last minute. But we have wonderful partnerships with the community and local businesses and we have faith that the job will get done.”
In addition to the Lions, major supporters of the football field project include general contractor Barton Malow and Foresite Design, Mark Dandar of Mark Land Surveying, Jason Arnold of Creative Site Solutions and Mike Mentz of Turnkey Enterprises. Pittsburgh-based ProGrass is donating the synthetic turf and Edw. C. Levy Co. is donating the base stone.
“What drew Life Remodeled to Detroit Public Schools, and specifically to Cody, was the hope that they saw in the school community as well as the neighborhood within which it sits,” says Detroit’s emergency manager, Jack Martin. “Even though we have significant financial challenges, we all have hope for brighter days for our students and the members of the Cody community.”
The majority of the work will be performed Aug. 11-17, 2014, but Life Remodeled will remain in partnership with Cody High School for one year to help address more long-term needs.
The Cody Rouge neighborhood has the second highest concentration of youth in Detroit, but also one of the highest rates of crime committed against young people in the city. Despite these challenges, Cody has established specialized academies of public leadership, medicine and technology in addition to its regular curriculum. The school’s graduation rate has increased from 40 percent just four years ago to more than 80 percent today, according to a press release from Life Remodeled.