Buy us a coffee! Set up a $5 donation each month to keep community journalism alive!
Buy us a coffee! Set up a $5 donation each month to keep community journalism alive!
powered by bulletin

News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Monday May 20th 2024


At the Phillips Aquatic Center

March Madness

By Denny Bennett

March, 2017 will be long remembered as a big month in the history of the Phillips Aquatics Center! On Tuesday, March 28th at 1:00 PM, at the Phillips Community Center, the ceremonial groundbreaking took place. Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board”'s (MPRB) Superintendent Jayne Miller led the festivities, and the crowd heard from elected officials, key donors and me. MPRB is planed the details of the event, and had the obligatory golden shovels and pre-softened dirt.

To me, this public display of “digging in” was like a wedding, in the sense that all who participate are saying loudly and publicly, “I”'m all in!” From this day forward, we can all relax a little bit. This thing is real, and once declared publicly at a groundbreaking, there are no “take-backs”! Just like a wedding, there was even a reception with light refreshments afterwards, and for entertainment, people took a tour of the “before” version of the old pool.

In January, while I heralded the joy of this dream coming true, I also dedicated a few column inches to explain how important items got left out due to budget constraints. Specifically, there were two projects that were designated as “optional” and as a result, not included in the planned construction:

  • Existing locker room upgrade ”“ $162,000
  • Fitness & teen center relocation and remodeling ”“ $116,000

The locker room upgrade would be for the main men”'s and women”'s locker rooms, which will otherwise be utilized “as-is” in their original, 45-year-old condition. While this is functional, it would be nice to have this final piece of the facility in appearance and utility to be fresh and welcoming (and in line with the new “family” locker rooms that are being added).

In the current configuration at the Phillips Community Center, the teen center is underneath the back of the bleachers, and the fitness center is located in two small classrooms near the front entrance of the building. Ideally, this would be reconfigured so that the fitness center would have a larger space (where the teen center is now) and an adjoining fitness room would also be created for “dryland” training, yoga and even non-water, learn-to-swim program components. Having all of this in a central area, close to the locker rooms, makes the most sense for building flow and efficiency.

We did not give up, and on March 8th, I received the exciting news from my contacts at The Minneapolis Foundation that we are receiving an anonymous grant for $270,000 to take care of both of the remaining projects! As I received the news, it literally brought tears to my eyes. I had expected having to collect money from a number of sources ”“ a little here, a little there ”“ and having it take much longer. To receive the money from a single donor, an anonymous donor, so quickly, just took my breath away!

All of this “March Madness” however, really didn”'t just happen this month. The events of March, 2017 that will be forever remembered, were really started by you and your neighbors seven years ago, or more, when you decided that it was not acceptable to have a vacant pool taking up space in your neighborhood, and that it would be a shame to fill it with concrete! It was the grassroots determination of some of you that Phillips deserved this and needed this. The actions you took then, are what led to a groundbreaking ceremony and a $270,000 gift this month. Congratulations Phillips community ”“ you earned it!

For further updates, please follow us on Facebook at

Denny Bennett is president of the board of directors of Minneapolis Swims and a mortgage banker with KleinBank, and can be reached at or 612-804-0488.

Related Images:

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2024 Alley Communications - Contact the alley