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2323 11th Phillips Community Center Update Park Board”'s Planning Committee Passes PCC Plan

by Robert Albee

It wasn”'t really a surprise! January 5th”'s Minneapolis Park Board Meeting was the occasion when Planning Committee members voted unanimously to support the Phillips Community Parks Initiative”'s (PCPI) re-use plan to utilize available space within the 49,000 square foot facility. The plan promotes programs and activities to serve persons of all ages and cultures residing within the Phillips Community.

No surprise”“because on December 15, Planning Committee commissioners invited the Phillips Community Parks Initiative (PCPI) to publicly present its plan for re-use of the Phillips Community Center praising these efforts as an excellent beginning for a plan that combined community-based tenants working side-by-side with the Park Board”'s Community Service Area (CSA) #6 staff.

When the Request For Proposal was issued by the Park Board, commissioners and staff sought the following:

  • Community partners that will add programming and services that are compatible and complimentary to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
  • Utilizing all the space available in the building for community use.
  • A tenant or tenants that have a the vision and financial resources to renovate the interior and exterior of the building and provide rental income to offset the building utilities, operating costs and provide for long term building maintenance and operation of the center.
  • A service provider with a strong interest in the community and a solid reputation for service.

According to a December 15th Memorandum submitted by Jayne Miller, MPRB”'s new Superintendent:

The proposal submitted by the Phillips Coalition [PCPI} is comprehensive and includes a wide range of services to be provided to the community in addition to services provided by the MPRB. The Pillsbury Waite House, a tenant in another MPRB building, is included in the Phillips Coalition and would provide many complimentary youth services that would be a very good fit with the MPRB programming at this site. In addition, the compliment of other community service providers created a very synergistic level of recreation and social service programming that does not exist in any of our other community centers.

Approval by the MPRB Planning Committee does not constitute a slam-dunk outcome, however. Instead, eight parameters were established that are essential in order for the Park Board to issue leases. Since one of the leases might extend for ten to twenty years into the future, and others up to five years, it was clear that they want to get it right at the point in which signatures become affixed to the leasing documents. These are:

  • Tenants are incorporated or a viable legal entity.
  • Tenants must be able to demonstrate the financial viability to make improvements, pay operating costs and pay rent.
  • Tenants are responsible for the improvements within their space.
  • The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board be responsible for common space improvements.
  • Duration of the leases be based on the amount of tenant improvements made ”“ the higher the investment, the longer the lease term
  • All tenants pay for their share of utilities for their space; a proportional share of common space, utilities, custodial and maintenance; and a proportional share of a sinking fund for future building repairs and renovation to the HVAC, roof, windows, building shell, bathrooms, parking lot and common spaces
  • All tenants enter into a three to five year programmatic agreement on services to the provided.
  • Use of the common facilities, possibly the gymnasium and cafeteria kitchen, be included in the terms of the programmatic agreements.

The plan approved by the MPRB Planning Committee calls for Park Board staff to work with the Phillips Coalition [PCPI] to address the parameters with a worst case move-in date of May 30, 2011. In subsequent discussions, Park Staff indicated that they would work as quickly as possible to expedite tenants whose funding requires a shorter move-in date as long as it complements final renovation activities now underway within the facility.

With the Waite House planning a wholesale move of its operations from 2529 13th Avenue into the PCC building (located two block north if its current location), its leaders have demonstrated strong leadership in ongoing negotiations with Park Board staff. These discussions are designed to address all the details and issues that a complicated move entails. Some differences between prospective tenants have arisen, but all parties indicated that nothing so far is viewed as irresolvable conflicts or “deal breakers”. For their part, Park Board staff are not trying to be mediators, but rather have encouraged PCPI people to work out their own differences.

In a separate part of the same vote MPRB Planning Commissioners declared that “Swim Minneapolis [Minneapolis Swims] will be given a two year option to develop a financial plan for renovating the pool and financing its operation”¦They will have the following milestones to meet or terminate the option:

  1. Establish and obtain MPRB approval for operating endowment and capital budget goals.
  2. Raise 25% of the capital budget complete plans and specifications for renovating the pool facilities within the first 6 months.
  3. Raise 25% of operating endowment and 50% of capital budget within 12 months.
  4. Complete fund raising for operating endowment within 18 months.
  5. Complete fund raising for capital within 24 months.
  6. Capital renovations must begin within 28 months.
  7. Operation and opening of pool must occur within 36 months.”

Staff and board members of Minneapolis Swims are working vigorously to meet this obligation. More on these efforts will be reported next month.

Robert Albee is Ventura Village Chairperson

 

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