Detroit, MI, WPH Press, 10/22/18- Detroit’s historic Palmer Park Courts were home to the USHA Three Wall Nationals for two decades and have proudly been restored to their its glory by a group of passionate Detroit handball players,
with the aim of inspiring new players, hosting junior handball clinics and programs, as well as open play for Motor City 3-Wall enthusiasts at the historic venue.
The Palmer Park Courts grand reopening featured a booth to introduce the game to new players on September 29, followed by the official Palmer Park Courts kickoff inauguration on October 13, all part of the Detroit outdoor handball rejuvenation.
“All the greats of the 1950’s and 1960’s played at Palmer Park,” stated Palmer Park Courts head restorer Stewart Shevin. “Detroit is having a comeback of sorts, so this summer, I spearheaded a group of people to refurbish this forgotten jewel in our city and we have come far along in restoring the famed courts. By tuck-pointing and painting the walls, resurfacing the floors, and much more, the courts have been brought back to life, with people having played there a number of times already.”
According to the official Palmer Park Courts press release, People for Palmer Park is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and official “Adopt-a-Park” Partner with the City of Detroit. PFPP is committed to the preservation, recreation, and revitalization of Palmer Park, for the good of all. Founded in 2011, the group has partnered with neighboring residents, community stakeholders, and the City of Detroit to clean and beautify the park, create free public events, and develop recreational programming — including a youth tennis academy, yoga, t’ai chi, walking and biking groups, and gardening — for all ages.
The Michigan Handball Association is a non-profit organization which promotes the growth of the sport and helps one another play, master, and most importantly, enjoy the game of handball. It works to encourage men, women, and especially children to play, as well as showcasing the sport and promoting events such as leagues and tournaments.
The MHA is particularly pleased to have helped fundraise for the restoration of the courts because of its history of title matches, which saw the greats of the 20th century play in Palmer Park.
MHA President Dale Chimenti says, “The Palmer Park courts are truly a window to a rich history of one of the most competitive sports ever played. With its reopening, every player will experience the thrill of playing on the same courts as some of the most celebrated world-class athletes…. echoes of those colorful athletes such as Jimmy Jacobs …. and so many more U.S. and world champions. The MHA is thrilled to participate in its revitalization.”
“I don’t think there is anything we do in this lifetime that we do alone,” stated Palmer Park Chair of Recreation Sharon Gambit. “The Michigan Handball Association, City of Detroit Parks and Rec, Jeff Klein, everyone has been so wonderful. Not only did they refurbish and revitalize this court, they also brought a friendship and a history, so much information that I was not even aware of.”
From the mayor’s office: “We’re really excited to cut this ribbon and get some handball going on out here.”
Over $12,000 was raised through an MHA campaign, which provided matching funds, to tuck-point and paint the walls, resurface a court, and paint appropriate lines.
Watch the Palmer Park Courts reopening HERE
Photos courtesy of Barbara Barefield. Thank you to Detroit’s Steward Shevin and Peter Werbe for the info on the Palmer Park Courts and for passionately growing the outdoor game in the Motor City!
If you’re in the Detroit area, stop by Palmer Park Courts for some great games, watch the outdoor Motor City junior handball initiatives and make the Palmer Park Courts your home for outdoor handball!
WPH Senior Writer