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Posts Tagged ‘East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center’

East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center at 2300 17th Ave. Exemplifies reward of unity after 40 years of vision and six years of struggle

East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center at 2300 17th Ave. Exemplifies reward of unity after 40 years of vision and six years of struggle

: It has been forty years since hopes and visions of improvement to the two blocks of land between 17th and Cedar Avenues and 22nd and 24th Streets began.  Initial plans and proposals for dense housing were halted by limited citizen initiated political “arm twisting” that was nonetheless effective.  That effort led to park development limited to the barest of un-staffed, built facilities.  Six years ago that same awareness and tenacity of local residents-- knowing their numbers and needs were greater than were being met and propelled by the obvious inequity of program and facility availability for local youth compared to other parts of the city””initiated concentrated focus on further improvement. The January 22, 2011 Building Opening and Ribbon Cutting marks the culmination of six years of creative and determined effort by neighborhood organizations, residents, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board with city, county, and state support. The newly constructed 14,000 sq. ft. building features a high school-sized gym and adjacent kitchen, a teen center, computer lab, and rooms that will accommodate a variety of programming. At 30% more energy efficient than the average building in Minneapolis, the East Phillips building sets a new standard for energy efficiency in Park Board community centers. (more…)

Open Letter to the Community Historic Community Protection Legislation is studied locally by North Mpls. and nationally by CA”“Re-Elect Responsible Lawmakers

With regard to a post on Mpls.e-democracy forum suggesting we sweep all the incumbents from the legislature, I just received a note from a friend in north Mpls. telling me to hang on to Rep. Karen Clark and Sen. Berglin. My friend”'s neighborhood is facing exposure to becoming host to a hazardous waste site and is aware of what Rep. Clark, Sen. Berglin and many neighborhood folks have accomplished together to bring about a first-in-the-nation environmental justice zone protective of the Phillips”' population through a bill in the legislature. The legislation requires far stricter guidelines than currently exist to protect a large section of the urban core neighborhood of Phillips, based on poverty statistics, already existing area pollution, health challenges and intense diversity. Phillips and Clark/Berglin”'s high profile protective bill are being watched from as far away as California for implications and responses. The bill is historic on the environmental justice scene. (more…)

Curious about another threat to East Phillips Community Center?

Curious about  another threat to East Phillips Community Center?

By Brad Pass, Chair East Phillips Park Community Design Team Once again East Phillips Cultural and Community Center has uncovered a deeply dismaying setback. Serious hazardous pollution was discovered as excavation proceeded this spring as if the struggles to gain political support, funding, and an appropriate design were not enough,. Borings and beginning excavation last Fall did not find this problem. Foundation rubble from houses demolished in the early 1970s left small quantities of numerous pollutants; asbestos, lead, ash and fuel oil, and others thoroughly intermixed with the excavated soil. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) require all excavated material be treated as hazardous waste and disposed and new soil brought substituted. The total cost of removing this and purchasing more clean fill and top soil far exceeds budgeted project funds. The solution proposed by the Park Board was to reduce the building”'s size and function by: Eliminating 1,000 Sq. Ft. at the south end of building designated as the Elder and Family Gathering Space; Eliminating all commercial kitchen equipment: refrigerator, freezer, range, exhaust hood, fire suppression system, make-up air system, and all counters, cupboards and storage cabinets; Eliminating the sound attenuating system in the gymnasium. Eliminating many other building amenities. Downgrading was a nightmare after the long struggle to deliver a wonderful multi-use building for the many needs of Phillips”' incredible diversity. The losses were too severe to accept without a fight. The Community Design Team and EPIC scrambled quickly and found two sources of money to help. One is a Hennepin County Pollution Mitigation Grant. The second is a bill rushed through the legislature in the last days of the session by Representative Karen Clark. Members of the Design Team worked frantically on May Day weekend to meet the Monday, May 3rd deadline for the Hennepin County grant. Rep. [...]

East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center Ground-Breaking 4 ½ Years after Linda”'s Dream, Neighbors-described on ”˜Butcher Paper”'**

East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center Ground-Breaking 4 ½ Years after Linda”'s Dream, Neighbors-described on ”˜Butcher Paper”'**

By Brad Pass and Carol Pass On November 19th, 2009 a momentous event for the Phillips Neighborhood occurred. It was the ground breaking of the long awaited East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center. After years of relentless struggle primarily by the residents and organizations of East Phillips, with help from our adjoining neighborhood to the west, Midtown Phillips, and many others, the end is in sight. Within months we will be able to enjoy this beautiful new building. The East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center will include a big gym with bleachers, a community kitchen, a beautiful entry rotunda, an elder and family gathering space and rooms to provide programs and educational help for our multitude of residents. It will provide space to help them reach their potential, to improve their lives, celebrate their many cultures and just chill out and enjoy one another. Ball fields and landscaping will also be added. Such a Center was a long held dream going back years, but always stalled out for a thousand reasons. However, when the neighborhood organization, the East Phillips Improvement Coalition, EPIC, began to plan programs for our neglected and desperately needy youth, the board members were stymied and brought to a halt by lack of space. They realized they could not write the grants to bring help to anyone, because there was no place to put the programs that were needed. All the churches were full. All the other possible spaces were occupied. The needs of this very diverse population were overwhelming, and we were helpless to respond. Then on July 14th, 2005, at the monthly EPIC neighborhood meeting, faced with a sense of sorrow at the inability to move ahead, East Phillips resident Linda Leonard spoke of a dream. She asked, “if we could have a Community Center in East Phillips Park, what problems would it solve and what could it do and be for the community?” She got out a large piece of butcher paper and started copying the [...]

Update on the East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center

By Brad Pass, Chair, East Phillips Park Community Design Team On October 1st, the bids for the new East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center were opened. Of the thirteen bidding construction companies, not one bid exceeded the money we have available for the project and the three lowest bids came in sufficiently low so as to allow us to include EVERTHING we had cut weeks ago when we were concerned about pre-bid estimates. We had sadly cut the Elderly and Family Gathering Space, amounting to 1,000 Sq Ft from the south end of the building. Then we eliminated sound insulating material in the gym. We eliminated all the appliances and the ventilation and make-up air system from the Kitchen along with many other less noticeable cost cutting measures including the elimination of the exterior plaza sitting wall. As a result of this, we were able to reduce the estimated building costs by just enough to warrant putting out the bids to the building construction industry. The bids were to go out in early September with a deadline of October 1st. Then, on Sept. 3rd, we were informed that our figures did not include money for a contingency fund. An additional $150,000 would be needed. The decision was made to proffer the bids anyway and hope for the best. Now the contingency is also covered and we can even consider additional additions. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioners voted unanimously; at their october 21st meeting, the “contingent upon staff receiving the city purchasing department”'s approval letter, (the mprb) authorizes acceptance of the low bid from rochon corporation”¦to furnish all labor, materials, equipment, and incidentals for construction of the east phillips cultural and community center”¦.” including all the items that had recently been eliminated. Once the City Purchasing Department approves Rochon Corp. the bid will be awarded and we can plan a groundbreaking ceremony. The actual groundbreaking [...]

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