Bicyclists will have another place to play come later this summer, as the Detroit Fitness Foundation (DFF) announced plans for a new, $4 million indoor multi-sport complex featuring a world-class cycling velodrome.

According to officials, this will be only the second permanent indoor cycling velodrome in the country. It will be located at I-75 and Mack Avenue in the city of Detroit. Tolan Playfield, renamed after Olympian and Cass Tech graduate and the first African American “world’s fastest human” Thomas Edward Tolan in 1968, is going to undergo a series of improvements this year along with the new facility.

The complex will be funded by the Detroit Fitness Foundation, according to a press release. It will be an air dome structure.

The Executive Director of the foundation is Dale Hughes, a lifetime resident of our area. Hughes has designed and built more than 20 velodromes worldwide, including the 1996 Olympic Velodrome in Atlanta and the 2015 Pan Am Games Velodrome in Toronto.

“Our goal is to provide kids with opportunities to turn the Olympic dream into a reality,” said Hughes. “I’ve had the honor of working on projects around the world but I am thrilled to bring this state-of-the-art indoor complex to my backyard in the city of Detroit.”

There will be three main “fields of play” to the building:

  • A world-class velodrome cycling track
  • Running, walking and in-line skating lanes
  • A multi-purpose infield and coffee shop/cafe

Once open, the complex will provide free access and programs including coaching and equipment for youth and seniors in the community.

The idea is that this would be affordable, and that fees would be similar to the Northwest Activity Center.

“Last year, we unveiled the city’s plan for investing in our parks and neighborhoods and this project is a perfect complement to our efforts,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Having safe and healthy spaces within our neighborhoods for families to live and play is essential to our city’s continued growth. The Detroit Fitness Foundation initiative will be a great asset to our community and its residents.”

The Detroit Fitness Foundation is donating $125,000 for additional outdoor improvements to the park and the city has committed $250,000 for new outdoor features including playground equipment, a picnic shelter and tables, fitness station, skateboard ramp and horseshoe pits.

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