After three months of waiting, the Phillips Community Parks Initiative (PCPI) finally had an opportunity to present its proposal to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) for leasing and participating in the operations of the Phillips Community Center. The actual written proposal was submitted July 9th and project organizers have been waiting ever since to formally address the opportunities face-to-face with Park Board staff and commissioners. Presentations were finally made on November 3rd and November 4th.
MPRB staff members Don Siggelkow, Judd Reichert and Al Bangoura attended the two days of presentations provided by the Waite House, Soos Early Childhood Learning Center, Minneapolis Swims a “wellness” coalition including Native American Community Clinic, Running Wolf Fitness Center, Freeport West, A Partnership Of Diabetics (A-POD), Guri Nabad and Ventura Village neighborhood. The other three Phillips Community neighborhoods, East Phillips Improvement Coalition, Mid Town Phillips and Phillips West Neighborhood Association were on hand supporting most of the other presenters and the notion of the MPRB and Phillips Community jointly supporting the Community Services Area (CSA), currently comprising Phillips Community and Eliot Park neighborhood.
Soos represents a Day Care center seeking to move from South 33rd Street and Chicago Avenue and was not included in the group presentations but all the rest of the groups presented together as an applicant’s coalition and then separately as the Pillsbury United Communities (Waite House), Minneapolis Swims and Soos.
The response of MPRB staff was friendly and very responsive but stopped short of making any commitments to the applicants who will present their report and recommendations to the MPRB commissioners. Then the MPRB commissioners will then decide to approve or reject the request, which is expected to take place within the next four to six weeks.
The Phillips Community Parks Initiative hopes to join with the MPRB in re-opening the Phillips Community Center for a combination of recreation, health and wellness-oriented activities, neighborhood organizing, and some supports for recent immigrants and low-income people seeking community assistance. Some of the space would be leased, leaving the largest areas for scheduled community usage under the aegis of the CSA.
Separately to all of this, Minneapolis Swims hopes to use the report commissioned by the PCPI members and themselves and prepared by DJR Architects to find independent funding to renovate the swimming pool and operate it in a manner that accords the greatest opportunity for youth and their families to have a fun aquatic experience while learning the life-skills associated with swimming lessons and water safety.