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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Friday May 24th 2024

The Phillips Aquatics Center is quietly funded by MPRB and on track for a 2017 opening!

pool-sketchBY DENNY BENNETT, President of Minneapolis Swims

Nate, my 16 year old son and I attended the July 15th Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board meeting to watch the final resolutions get passed that would approve the last $417,000 of a $5,422,500 budget that has been raised to restore and expand the aquatics facilities at the Phillips Community Center. Altogether, there would be three resolutions that would affect the renovated Phillips Pool that were up for review.

The first, under the Administration and Finance Committee, was resolution 2015-249: Resolution Accepting the Financial Support Offered by the Minneapolis Public Schools for the Phillips Community Center Pool Facility in the Amount of $150,000 Per Year, through 2020, in Operating Funds and $1,750,000 in Capital Funds in FY 2016 Contingent on Mutual Agreement on the Six Expectations Listed in the June 18, 2015 Minneapolis Public School Resolution.

This passed unanimously.

Next, under the Recreation Committee, was resolution 2015-250: Resolution Affirming a Commitment to Create a Memorandum of Understanding with Minneapolis Public Schools Related for Scheduling, Programming & Facilities.

This passed unanimously.

Finally, in Unfinished Business, came resolution 2015-255: Resolution Authorizing Reallocation of 2016 Capital Levy Funds by Delaying Planned Improvements at Luxton Park and Matthews Park to support the Capital Funding Required for the Phillips Community Center Aquatic Facility.

This passed unanimously.

And, just like that, the Phillips Aquatic Center was fully funded. It was an odd moment for me as I looked around at the nearly empty room being the only person at the meeting of the many people who have been involved over the last five years. I was not called on to answer a single question, nor even acknowledged. There was no debate on any of these resolutions. It was just different. Our facility is no longer a “what if” to be debated; it is finally a given.

At the next MPRB meeting, a recommendation from staff will be brought to the board for approval on a consultant team that will lead the design. Expect community engagement meetings in August, with follow-up meetings in September with the neighborhoods. Armed with this information, the design team hopes to have the design phase complete and to the board for approval by late Fall.

The project would then be bid over the winter, putting the MPRB in a position, hopefully, to award a construction contract by next Spring. This should put them in a position to be breaking ground no later than June 2016, with a finished facility by year-end 2017.

After years of struggle, uncertainty, contributions and hard work by countless people, without whom we would not be here today, we had finally made it!

While it was a quiet, personal celebration last night, in the nearly empty MPRB board room, it was particularly special for me as I wasn”'t personally alone. I was there with my son. It was almost two years ago that Nate dove into Lake Harriet and saved a boy who didn”'t know how to swim from drowning, and it was that event that lead me to this cause and involvement with Minneapolis Swims.

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