MINNEAPOLIS - For years children in the Phillips Neighborhood peered through the dark windows for a peek at the empty pool on the other side. It closed in 2008 when the Boys and Girls Club moved out.
But two years ago, Hannah Lieder , who is with Minneapolis Swims, had a vision.
"I saw water in this pool, pristine gutters and a clean pool and water with nice under water lights in there and happy children in the pool learning how to swim," she said.
The dream wasn't going to be cheap. So she rounded up community members and children who wanted the pool. Together they were able to capture $1.75 million in bonding money from the state.
The catch is they would need a $350,000 match from a local source. Minneapolis Swims applied for a county grant to meet that requirement, but hit a wall.
"The grant application needed to be approved by the Minneapolis Park Board planning committee last Wednesday and because of concern over the ongoing costs of operating the pool they did not pass that motion," Lieder said.
That means the bonding money they received could be at stake. On top of all that, many park board commissioners expressed concern about operation costs. Minneapolis Swims was supposed to raise a $4 million endowment fund to take care of that, but have raised no money to date.
Commissioner Scott Vreeland, who voted to approve the motion, told KARE 11, "It's a great cause, but arithmetic is our challenge."
The board faces a $1.3 million budget deficit. Without a plan proving Minneapolis Swims can take care of the pool financially themselves Vreeland said it's hard for his colleagues to commit.
That's heartbreaking news to Jaylen Williams and Brandon Hunt who testified at the State Capitol in hopes of having a new pool.
"I feel like people are blinded by dollar signs ... It's too expensive to keep operating, but that's the only they look it. They don't look past the fact that OK, it may cost this much, but what could be the effects on this community?" Hunt said.
The hope was to reopen a pool to a community that no longer has one, but that dream is quickly going underwater.
The entire board will take up the issue again in a meeting Oct. 3.
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