A Pool Where City Kids Can Learn to Swim

All Minnesota kids should have the chance to learn to swim.

That’s the guiding principle behind two major contributions that Minneapolis Foundation donors have made anonymously to Minneapolis Swims, a local nonprofit that is working to renovate a now-dry indoor swimming pool in the Phillips neighborhood.

“A big issue today is equity and social justice, and from my perspective, when it comes to swimming specifically, we didn’t have that in Minneapolis,” said Denny Bennett, president of the board of Minneapolis Swims.

In Minnesota and nationwide, children from many minority groups drown at far higher rates than their white peers. To help close those gaps, Minneapolis Swims and many other community members have been working to reopen the Phillips Community Center swimming pool.

Built in 1973, the pool was originally attached to Phillips Junior High, which has since been torn down. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, which owns the pool, nearly filled it with concrete in 2010 before community members rallied to save it.

Since then, an array of partners have committed funding to help renovate the pool, including the park board, Minneapolis Public Schools, the state Legislature, local neighborhoods, the county, and a variety of private donors. “This pool has really been the collaborative work of so many people,” said Bennett, adding that Minneapolis Swims is still raising money to help pay for the pool.

Plans for the estimated $5.4 million project include two pools, Bennett said: a six-lane competition pool and a shallow, warm-water pool that will be especially welcoming for seniors and kids learning to swim.

To learn more about Minneapolis Swims, check out their Facebook Page.