MINNEAPOLIS — "What we want to do is really hit on the excellence that our community has," said Malik Rucker, the director of community engagement and partnerships with the new V3 Center, a health-and-wellness center that will soon call this Plymouth and Lyndale Avenue intersection in north Minneapolis, home.
"Providing opportunities for our community and our children to try out different things," Rucker said.
V3 purchased the property in 2017 and started fundraising, taking a yearlong pause during the pandemic.
"We started to raise funds before pandemic hit, so that kind of set us back a bit," said Erika Binger, founding director and coach. "Now, we're able to break ground and make it a reality."
In the U.S., drowning is a leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and four. And in swimming pools, Black children ages 10-14 years drown at rates 7.6 times higher than white children, according to recent data from the CDC.
Rucker says the first phase of the center will focus on swimming lessons, among other things.
"Instructional pool, fitness center, classrooms, child care, retail spaces for partners," he said. "We are setting out to combat health-and-wellness inequities and drowning disparities."
Phase 2 will include the 50-meter Olympic pool, used during the 2021 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, making it a space that serves as a regional attraction, while serving as a resource for employment for the surrounding communities.
"We want to make sure staff is reflective of the community and that is in every single program area," said Binger. "We're going to be a source of healthy people which can contribute to a healthy community," Rucker said.
A groundbreaking ceremony is set for this Friday.
The Phase 1 project will take 12-14 months and should be completed in early 2024.
For more information, visit the website here.
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