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East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center.
The Community, with the help of many, was successful in lobbying the 2006 State Legislature for $3.5 million to be used by the Minneapolis Park Board for a cultural and community center in East Phillips Park. The community formed the East Phillips Park Community Design Team (EPPCDT) to engage the public, use the input of this diverse population to guide planning and raise additional money so this underserved community can, at long last, have the quality facility it deserves.
The EPPCDT consists of representatives of all of ethnicities in this wonderfully diverse community. The Design Team is committed to represent all community members and to work to acquire the best possible Community Center for this neighborhood.
A total of approximately $4.1 million has been raised for the project. EPIC, from its NRP funds, made a significant contribution which acted as seed money for the rest. Other contributions came from the Park Board, the City of Minneapolis, the Toyota Corporation, the Marbrook Foundation, Midtown Phillips Neighborhood Association and individual donors.
On November 19th, 2009, EPIC, the Design Team, the Park Board and Rochon Corporation organized a gala ground breaking ceremony for the Center and excavation began. The East Philips Park Cultural and Community Center will be completed in the fall of 2010. Thanks to all those who worked tirelessly for 4 1/2 years to make this dream a reality.
Epic, the Design Team and Park staff are now cooperating to strengthen and expand the partnership of twenty-one organizations, which are committed to help provide programming for the center and to assure its ongoing success.
East Phillips won the fight to stop a significant new source of Hazardous Air Pollutants:
Kandiyohi Development Partners and their investors (including Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman) proposed to build a wood-burning Power Plant in the middle of our residential neighborhood near 28th St and 20th Ave. S., very close to one of the highest concentrations of low income and minority children in the State. Their project, the Midtown EcoEnergy Biomass Plant, was planned to burn wood to produce electricity and hot water for district heat.
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) the power plant would be; ".... a Major Source of Hazardous Air Pollutants".
A long and hard battle was fought drawing on the combined efforts of the East Phillips Improvement Coalition, many residents from East Phillips and adjacent neighborhoods, Little Earth of United Tribes, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Midtown Phillips Neighborhood Association, Inc., Minneapolis Residents for Clean Air, the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Holy Rosary Catholic Church and especially State Representative Karen Clark and State Senator Linda Berglin.
With the help of Carol Pass and neighborhood lobbyists, Clark and Berglin, joined by State Senator Torres Ray, were able to pass legislation which requires the MPCA to catalogue and measure all sources of existing pollution in this area before issuing a new pollution permit. This legislation along with a huge letter, E-mail, and phone campaign and hours of lobbying finally stopped the burner!
East Phillips is already the site of a foundry, an asphalt plant, a roofing company's hot tar storage facility and it will soon host the new asphalt hot-mix storage facility for the City of Minneapolis Public Works Department. East Phillips is also the site of a Federal Pollution Super-Fund Site (the arsenic triangle) and it suffers from severe lead contamination as a result of leaded gasoline and lead paint in its aging housing stock. The introduction of a new source of Hazardous Air Pollutants in this economically challenged, ethnically diverse community would be a classic case of environmental injustice. This project was in clear contradiction to the MPCA's Environmental Justice Policy and with the new Clark/Berglin legislation, it is very unlikely that a new source of pollution will ever be introduced here.
Thank you to all who helped!
The children of Phillips will all be healthier with brighter futures because of your actions.