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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday May 19th 2024

Sumner T. McKnight Mansion Proposal to Phillips

By Robert Larson

The 2200 Park Ave. McKnight mansion needs a new use. My proposal for this former Native American property:

The idea is to convert it into a Neighborhood Garage in memory of Muriel Simmons. It would be for the benefit of families in need of affordable personal transportation repair and maintenance. I am well aware of the financial burden when a vehicle breaks down and you have to afford expensive repairs. What does a family do when they are on a fixed income? Do they resort to public transportation, family, friends, and neighbors to get around? How about a taxi? Is there a loner car provided when your car is being repaired? Getting your family to an appointment or shopping is difficult when your car is broken down. Do you take your children on the bus or walk to a scheduled appointment? Families are in need of an affordable alternative.

I believe this concept is vital to a thriving community. The end result will help support affordable transportation repairs and safer vehicles on the road. There are many tasks:

  • Purchase the building.
  • Convert one structure to a multi-stall garage.
  • Update the mechanical systems.
  • Attain a Human resource employee, or volunteer,
  • Establish client guidelines.
  • Purchase property and liability insurance.
  • Assess local, State, and federal regulations.
  • Purchase and install mechanics tools and equipment.

It will benefit the Phillips Community as a non-profit. The old brown stone structure will be housing for retired mechanics that need affordable housing. There is a vast knowledge base in these mechanics who can no longer perform the physically demanding tasks of automotive repair; also for housing individuals that will earn their keep by repairing and maintaining the vehicles brought to the garage. They can pass down their experience to the next generation of automotive repair technicians. An ASE certification program will validate these younger mechanics and provide them with professional credentials. What do you think? Please send your feedback to or Alley Communications P.O. Box 7006, Mpls., MN 55407

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