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General Motors donates $2 million to renovate Detroit recreation centers


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General Motors donates $2 million to renovate Detroit recreation centers

By CHRISSIE THOMPSON

Free Press Business Writer

General Motors is giving $2 million to Detroit to fund renovations at two of the city's recreation centers, continuing the automaker's post-restructuring emphasis on investing in its home city.

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"In the past few years, there's been a lot of challenges in the automotive industry," manufacturing chief Diana Tremblay said Thursday at a celebration at the Joseph Walker Williams rec center. "General Motors wants to reconnect with all the communities that were there for us."

The donation, made through GM's charitable foundation, helps make up for numerous budget cuts for rec centers, said Sue Norander, general manager of operations for Detroit's Recreation Department. The rec centers now number 17, down from 35 in the early 1990s. They could face another budget cut this spring, she said.

But Mayor Dave Bing said he wants to reopen rec centers once Detroit starts using money more effectively. Along with the Williams center, on Rosa Parks Boulevard in central Detroit, the funds will renovate the Lasky rec center, which is south of the Davison-McNichols intersection.

Read more: General Motors donates $2 million to renovate Detroit recreation centers | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20101203/BUSINESS01/12030362/General-Motors-donates-2-million-to-renovate-Detroit-recreation-centers#ixzz173alZwjY

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GM pledges $2M for Detroit rec centers

By CHRISSIE THOMPSON

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

General Motors is giving $2 million to Detroit to fund renovations at two of the city's recreation centers, continuing the automaker’s post-restructuring emphasis on investing in its home city.

The donation, which comes through GM’s charitable foundation, reflects the post-bankruptcy company’s desire to give back to areas surrounding its plants, said Diana Tremblay, vice president of manufacturing and labor. GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant makes the Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne.

“In the past few years, there’s been a lot of challenges in the automotive industry,” she said today at a celebration at the Joseph Walker Williams rec center on Rosa Parks Boulevard in central Detroit. “General Motors wants to reconnect with all the communities that were there for us.”

The donation helps make up for numerous budget cuts for rec centers, said Sue Norander, general manager of operations for Detroit’s Recreation Department. Last year’s cuts led to reduced rec center hours and a 25% reduction of full-time staff. The rec centers now number 17, down from 35 in the early 1990s, and could face another budget reduction this spring, she said.

But Mayor Dave Bing said his administration plans to prioritize reopening rec centers and giving them more funding once Detroit starts using money more effectively.

Improvements planned for the Williams center and the Lasky rec center, which is just south of the Davison-McNichols intersection, include disability-accessible restrooms, new lighting, fresh paint and repairs to air conditioning, heaters and ceilings. They will also address leaks and flooded entrances

But later, GM’s employees could help teach rec center kids and teens about safety, the environment, manufacturing, teamwork or problem solving, Tremblay said.

“Both GM and the UAW want to put some people power behind the financial donation,” she said.

Mark Reuss, GM’s North American president, first mentioned the investment in Detroit’s recreational areas in an October interview with the Free Press.

Read more: GM pledges $2M for Detroit rec centers | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20101202/BUSINESS0101/101202042/GM-pledges-2M-for-Detroit-rec-centers#ixzz173cN1GFJ

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