Plans for Phillips pool moves ahead

MINNEAPOLIS--For the last three years the dream of a new pool at the Phillips Community Center sat empty. The pool is still boarded up but supporters say there is reason for new hope.

On Wednesday, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board passed a resolution 7-2 authorizing them to proceed with developing the pool and extended the deadline to raise money for it until February.

Denny Bennett, Board President of Minneapolis Swims, the community non-profit behind the project says the pool is finally moving in the right direction.

Minneapolis Swims has raised $2.5 million dollars, needs another $300,000 by the deadline for a six lane pool, Bennett said. They would need another $2.5 million if they want an eight lane pool.

"This is going to be a pool for everyone. We are going to teach kids to swim here. There's going to be programming for seniors and it's going to be perfect just for bringing the whole community together," Bennett said.

But not everyone sees it that way.

Commissioners Anita Tabb and Steffanie Musich believe the pool's operating costs will drain the park and rec's funding and say there are cheaper ways to teach kids to swim.

"To me it's not about a pool. It's about teaching kids to swim. It's about giving someone a skill set that they don't otherwise have and I think we have facilities to do that through the system in a variety of ways," Tabb said.

Commissioner Scott Vreeland represents the Phillips neighborhood.

He believes there is enough support to build the pool and keep park and rec in the black.

"If we can find private funds (and) we can find other public funds we can use our funds to leverage additional support," Vreeland said.

Most recently Minneapolis Swims received $250,000 from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. However, they must match the grant before they get the money. Minneapolis Swims launched an online campaign and have raised $50,000 already, Bennett said.


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