MINNEAPOLIS - City leaders and community members gathered Friday at the Phillips Community Center in Minneapolis in order to build support for a project that would provide swimming pool access to thousands of children.
"This is long overdue," said Hanna Lieder, chair of Minneapolis Swims.
The organization's goal is to reopen the community center's pool which closed in 2008. But their plan is much bigger.
"We want to build a three-pool facility for competitions and swimming lessons," says Lieder. "In many ways this is a safety issue."
Lieder says in Minnesota, the number one cause of of accidental death for African American children is drowning. She believes families need adequate access and places to learn.
"There aren't indoor public pools in Minneapolis," she says. "The last several drownings in the city were minority children."
The new facility comes with a price tag between four and six million dollars, some of which will come from state and local governments. The rest will rely on private donations.
If fundraising goes as planned, the new facility could open in 2016.