Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, others assess Cedar-Riverside for potential community facility

The neighborhood’s current center is at maximum capacity, requiring additional services.

Kids enter the Brian Coyle Community Center on June 15, 2017.

Easton Green

Kids enter the Brian Coyle Community Center on June 15, 2017.

by Kassidy Tarala

A prominent community space in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood may move to a bigger location where local officials say it can better fulfill the needs of residents.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board met with the YMCA Twin Cities, Augsburg University and Pillsbury United Communities on April 18 to agree to assess a preliminary design of an updated community space on the Augsburg campus. The new facility would serve as an addition to the existing Brian Coyle Center.

Cedar-Riverside ranks as the most densely populated neighborhood in Minneapolis and is largely comprised of underserved communities of color, said Dawn Sommers, MPRB director of communications and marketing.

A disagreement about the Brian Coyle Center’s lease has stalled any potential state funding for a renovation. 

“Currently, the Brian Coyle Center is at full capacity,” Sommers said. 

She added that even if the center were to expand, it would likely still not meet all of the needs in the area.

The assessment will hone in on the needs and desires of Cedar-Riverside community members, she said.

Though Sommers said MPRB believes the Brian Coyle Center has made a positive impact on the community, they have recognized that needs are still not met. 

“[We believe] a new facility will help meet the needs of the community,” she said.

Over the next year, Sommers said MPRB will work with its other collaborators to broadly review the programs and services currently available in the community. Once they identify gaps, they will likely expand into a new facility. 

Programs offered at the center are focused on five impact areas: education, wellness and nutrition, youth and family, employment and training and asset creation.

“It is a vibrant destination for children and families to connect with culturally relevant programming, spanning from out-of-school activities to senior services to a host of countless community and political events,” said Meghan Muffett, PUC communications manager.

A new facility would provide more programs to the more than 7,500 community members the center serves, specifically in athletics and recreation activities, said PUC Chief of Staff Brenna Brelie.

She said people come to the center not just for organized programs, but also for assistance connecting to other resources like employment opportunities. 

The Brian Coyle Center is currently a one-story building with limited classroom space and few amenities. 

“It’s very ideal that [MPRB] is considering this. It would significantly enhance community programming,” said Amano Dube, director of the center.

Dube said PUC, which owns the Brian Coyle Center, supports both an update of the current facility and the addition of a new center.

He said he is hopeful MPRB will help the center expand as a “central hub” for Cedar-Riverside residents.

“We’re right across the street from housing facilities mostly comprised of families,” Dube said. “They would receive the immediate benefit of expanding the center, as well as from building a second one.”