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Friday August 18th 2017

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“Programs might die, but good ideas and community… live” Phillips’ “Wellness Corridor”

by Robert Albee

For the past two years many of us in the Phillips Community have been working to resurrect the Phillips Community Center (PCC) and turn it into a centerpiece for rebuilding the fabric of the neighborhood—this time as Phillips people instead of edifices or individual programs. We want the PCC to become Phillip’s hub of activity just like the Sabathani Community Center does for the Greater Central neighborhood.

If you look below at the map of Phillips, 24th Street is the only street in Phillips that intersects all four Phillips neighborhoods: West Phillips, Ventura Village, Midtown Phillips and East Phillips. It connects LSS’ Center For Changing Lives on the west to Little Earth of the United Tribes on the East. In between is East Phillips Park’s new building, Holy Rosary Church, AICDC’s Townhomes, Center School and Open Arms. Then there is the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, All Nations Church, 1ra Iglesia Apostolica De La Fe En Cristo Jesus, Habitat For Humanity homes, Indian Health Board, Phillips Community Center, the Somali Village Market, Hope Academy, Phillips Eye Institute, Our Saviour’s Church and Shelter, Southside Family Nurturing Center, Sustainable Progress through Engaging Active Citizens, and of course Lutheran Social Services. WOW!

Let us request that Twenty-Fourth Street be officially designated as the Phillips Community Wellness Corridor. This street intersects with Chicago Avenue—already designated by the City of Minneapolis as the Life Sciences Corridor.

Recently Annie Young took Bill Kingsbury and me to brunch at Merlins Pub. Annie is still grieving the departure of The Green Institute (TGI) from Phillips and wanted to ask Bill and I some questions because we are recently retired from the board of directors. Her thoughts and sentiments are written elsewhere in this issue so I want to tell you something else. I told Annie Young, who is also an at-large Commissioner and Vice-Chair of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, that we can easily accommodate lingering pieces of The Green Institute’s legacy that we want to live on here in Phillips. Programs might die, but good ideas and community can and will live on as long as we continue to dream and vision, plan, mentor, organize and negotiate! Right now we have many new people choosing to settle in Phillips and bring ideas and skills together in some creative ways. As an elder who started out developing the Center For Local Self-Reliance (CLSR) at Walker Church back in the early 1970’s, I was all fired up when proponents of The Green Institute invited me to join them during the early 1990’s.

Now that TGI is gone from Phillips, we are rediscovering much of that original spirit in Transition Town Phillips, Gardening Matters Hubs, Midtown Community Energy, Minneapolis Swims and a host of other groups. What is so exciting is the amount of fresh energy people are willing to devote to learning new skills and ideas, training and teaching each other skills in gardening, reducing our carbon footprints, conserving energy, embracing healthy eating and physical activities in a multi-cultural sense—all while integrating wisdom steps from indigenous and immigrant cultures.

Much of this kind of spirit was embodied in the original Green Institute initiative. Although TGI changed its direction from education and training, for many of us that was and is what constituted its heart and soul.

It has been a dream all along to ensure that the Phillips Community Center becomes a venue to provide meeting, gathering, organizing, and socializing space in which residents and stakeholders of Phillips come together and continuously rethink, redesign and reinvent ourselves. In doing so we are demonstrating our resiliency and ability to adapt to forces and changes which we could not initially control.

By declaring East 24th Street as our officially designated Phillips Community Wellness Corridor, we signal the intention to be in charge of our own destiny and our efforts to work hand-in-hand to make Phillips a healthy and happy destination.

Robert Albee is Chairman of Ventura Village and founder of A-Partnership Of Diabetics, Ralbee4045@aol.com – 612.812.2429

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One Response to ““Programs might die, but good ideas and community… live” Phillips’ “Wellness Corridor””

  1. […] The Alley Newspaper suggests that Phillips make 24th Street the center of community spirit as the Wellness Corridor, which would be supported by Dallas Johnson’s Bridging Minneapolis project. Johnson (winner of […]

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