Saturday, December 10, 2005

Plans for Detroit's Youth Education Town announced

Although Super Bowl XL will be over in less than two months, the NFL and several local individuals and companies are making sure that football's Big Dance lives on in Detroit long after the game is over.

The legacy of SBXL in Detroit is a
Youth Education Town (YET), a 30,000-square-foot education and recreation facility designed to benefit at-risk youth.

The new construction project, estimated at $6.6 million, will consist of a gymnasium, an arts & crafts center, a locker room, a game room, a technology center, a teen center, a multi-media studio and community and snack rooms.

The center, which will be managed by the
Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, will be located on the city's west side. Future plans include the construction of both a patio and playground, as well as a new outdoor athletic field.

Youth Education Towns like Detroit's are part of the National Football League's
Join the Team initiative, a program that encourages citizens to join with NFL players and coaches in making a difference in their communities.

YET Centers, which the NFL began in Los Angeles in 1993, are made possible by the generous donations of the NFL, which always gives $1 million to the host city for the project, and local individuals and organizations.

In the case of Detroit's future YET, the Detroit Super Bowl XL Host Committee (DSBXLHC) will also give $1 million to the center, thanks to contributions from the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and the North American International Auto Show, which gave $250,000; former Detroit Lions head coach Steve Mariucci; auto giants Ford, GM and DaimlerChrysler; Visteon Fund; Bank One; and, Detroit Lions Charities.

Other donors to the new Detroit YET include Richard Dauch, chairman, CEO and founder of
American Axle & Manufacturing, and wife, Sandra, who have committed $1.5 million to the project; Johnson Controls, which will assist by providing both a monetary donation and material supplies for construction; and, Grosse Pointe-resident Ralph C. Wilson Jr., owner of the Buffalo Bills, who has promised some funding for the outdoor athletic field.

Ground-breaking on Detroit's Youth Education Center is scheduled for Spring 2006. It is expected to open in 2007.

Upon completion, it is estimated that Detroit's YET may accommodate as many as 25,000 youth each year. It will be located on the city's west side, at Joy Road and the Southfield Freeway.

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