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Minneapolis Park Board Issues RFP for Phillips Community Center

Special to the Alley Newspaper by Robert Albee, Ventura Village Secretary In its April 21st regularly scheduled Wednesday night meeting, the Minneapolis Park Board voted unanimously to issue a Request For Proposal (RFP) seeking qualified partners to “add programming and services”¦ compli-mentary to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board .” The document issued by the Board is seeking to utilize “all the space available in the building for community use,” by tenants who have the resources to renovate or build out the space and provide income to offset building utilities and operating costs that include long term renovation needs. The Park Board is also seeking “a services provider with a strong interest in the community and a solid reputation for service.” Reactions were mixed at a Monday, April 19th meeting called by the Park Board at Phillips”' Stewart Park. At that meeting, MPRB Commissioner Scott Vreeland read the RFP aloud to the assembled group of attendees. Several residents spoke out about the responsibility of the Park Board to serve all the people and not just the highest bidders. Others reminded the attending commissioners that there are 7,000 youth and children in Phillips which is far more than other better-served parks. Robert Albee of Ventura Village spoke in favor of the RFP by saying that he appreciated having real guidelines publicly issued and the elimination of a single entity being expected to “take over” the facility and operate it. Having written many grants and proposals in the past, he said he relished the chance to help get the Phillips Community Center operating again in a sustainable way. As approved and published, the following schedule was given: April 21, 2010: Board approved release of the Phillips Community Center Request for Proposals April 30, 2010: Request for Proposals released. June 4, 2010 10 am to noon: Walk through at the facility for interested [...]

Phillips Unites on Pool and Gym Use & Defeat of MPRB Burying Pool under Concrete

Phillips Unites on Pool and Gym Use & Defeat of MPRB Burying Pool under Concrete

A Commentary by Robert Albee Two words went out over the internet the evening of March 25th: “We won!” The truth of the matter is that the Phillips Community has only secured a delay in the destruction of the swimming pool at the Phillips Community Center. The April 1st “destruction day” was announced earlier in a telephone call from Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) Commissioner Scott Vreeland. He confirmed a March 11th email sent from Park Board staff member Andrew Lesch to a Mid Town Phillips resident and neighborhood association board member. In that email, Lesch wrote: “I”'m the project manager for the current renovations at Phillips Community Center. This phase involves replacement of the heating, cooling and ventilation system with new roof top units, roof replacement of the upper roof and in fill of the former pool shell for re-use in the future.” Those were the words that began a cascade of emails and telephone calls to the MPRB from Phillips Community residents and others upset with that decision. Some of the emails are included in this edition of in this edition of The Alley and see others on website www.alleynews.org. Most importantly, Phillips people came through by voicing their concerns and outrages regarding the process that led to the MPRB decision to destroy the pool. Contractors speculated as to why the MPRB would go so far to actually destroy the pool when a simple, safe covering or enclosure over the pool would temporarily suffice. Apparently they had thought they already had made a permanent decision within a building that they already own. End of discussion”¦for them! MPRB Commissioner Annie Young made clear in an email to Crystal Trutnau, Executive Director of Phillips West Neighborhood Organization, that the Park Board never operated that swimming pool; it was open only during the tenancy of the Boys and Girls Club in the PCC facility. Her thinking, presumably, was [...]

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