2324 11th Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Recreation Center: Phillips Community Center
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Unlike any other recreation center in the Minneapolis park system, the Phillips Community Center (PCC) also houses tenants that each provide their own services to the community. PCC tenants include Ventura Village, Waite House, Minneapolis Swims, and Somali-American Communities.
See what's currently in the works for this park. Some projects may be under the name of the regional park or service area it lives within. View Current Projects
Major investments at Central Gym Park in 2018 were made possible with funding from the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan. This historic agreement between MPRB and the City of Minneapolis helps address racial and economic equity across 160 neighborhood parks and provides $11 million annually to maintain, repair and replace facilities.
Size: 2.79 acres
Neighborhood: Ventura Village
Service Area: South
Master Plan: After two years of extensive community engagement, the Phillips Park Master Plan was approved in 2016 as part of the South Service Area Master Plan. The Phillips Park Master Plan will guide outdoor park improvements at Phillips Park for the next 20-30 years. Click the link below to view the master plan.
Name: The facility was once part of Phillips Junior High School. The school, and subsequently the neighborhood, was named for Wendell Phillips, an abolitionist orator. Following the Civil War, Phillips turned his attention to fighting for Native American rights and women’s suffrage.
Acquisition and Development
The park board acquired the pool and gym of Phillips Junior High School in 1987. The facility had been slated to be demolished with the rest of the school in 1982, but instead a deal was reached with the park board to take over the facility. The original school was constructed in 1926 at 12th Avenue South and East 23rd Street. The pool and gym had been built as an addition to the school in 1973.
The ownership of the facility was transferred from the school board to the park board at no cost, but $1.5 million was spent to renovate the facility making it the most expensive recreation facility in the park system. It was also the only indoor swimming pool owned by the park board. The renovation was groundbreaking in that for the first time, private, non-profit foundations contributed most of the money for a park project. The McKnight, Bush and Minneapolis foundations all contributed toward the renovation. Their contributions were augmented by city and federal grants.
The operation of the center followed a model developed at Bethune Park with the Phyllis Wheatley Center in 1968 where the building was leased to a social service agency. The primary tenant at the Phillips Pool and Gym was the Jack Cornelius Boys and Girls Club. In addition, the YMCA operated a daycare center in the building and Pillsbury United Communities conducted programs as well. (Pillsbury United Communities was also an original tenant in the recreation center built at Mathews Park in 1965. In the 1990s, Pillsbury United Communities constructed the Brian Coyle Community Center adjacent to Currie Park in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood and transferred title of the property to the park board, but retained operational control of the center.)
The last remaining tenant of the Phillips Pool and Gym, the Boys and Girls Club, withdrew from the facility in 2008. The pool, which had fallen into disrepair, was also closed that year. At that time the park board took control of the building and began an extensive, three-year renovation. When the building reopened in 2012 it contained a new gym, computer lab, teen club and meeting rooms - as well as five new community tenants. It also received major upgrades to heating and air conditioning systems, a new roof, new lighting, new finishes and was brought up to code.
In 2015 the park board partnered with a number of public and private organizations to raise enough money to renovate and expand the pool. The new pool is expected to open in 2017.
History through 2008 written by David C. Smith, with updates from 2009 to present written by MPRB.