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Improvements delayed on Cedar-Riverside’s community center

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will apply for funding in the 2021 legislative session after plans were delayed.
Kids enter the Brian Coyle Community Center on June 15, 2017.
Image by Easton Green
Kids enter the Brian Coyle Community Center on June 15, 2017.

Plans to expand a community center space in Cedar-Riverside have been delayed two years due to lack of funding.

A project that would expand the current Brian Coyle Center and potentially add a new location was first proposed five years ago by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The original timeline for the project anticipated construction to start by 2021, but project officials needed more time to apply for state funding, pushing that date back tentatively to 2023. Project officials announced the new timeline this month. 

The project is currently in the predesign phase, which consists of gathering community input on specific amenities for a potential design. Community input meetings will go until June. 

“We continue to just dig a little deeper and deeper as we engage the community around really programming priorities,” said Daniel Elias, project manager for the Coyle Center expansion. 

The Cedar-Riverside Neighborhood Revitalization Program and MPRB project officials have yet to go public with any sort of official plan for the project, but officials say improvements could include expanding the current Brian Coyle Center and adding additional facilities near Augsburg University. Stakeholders from the city and Augsburg are currently looking at potential sites for a second location. 

“We are still actively sort of vetting all possible locations and we haven’t really settled on [a location], and that’s been I think the biggest evolution [of the project],” Elias said. “But you know, we still have many options that are sort of actively on the table as of this moment.”

After a January community meeting, Elias said he and his team have a better understanding of the neighborhood’s needs, including transportation and youth programming. 

“We are hoping to see a lot of things. We are hoping to see one more gym because we only have one here now,” said CRNRP co-Executive Director Bosteya Jama. “We are hoping to see a swimming pool and more programs that can be facilitated for the young people.”

The increased accessibility to recreation amenities an improved center would bring is especially important to Cedar-Riverside, one of the most densely populated residential areas in the city, Elias said. 

MPRB will request funding for the project in a capital bonding bill next legislative session, which would require an application by the summer, Elias said. MPRB did not apply for funding the bonding cycle session because the project was far enough along in the predesign phase to be considered in the bill. 

“We do not have any guaranteed funds for the project yet. All we have is money to discuss that idea. But that is all,” said MPRB project planner Siciid Ali. 

Without a solidified predesign, Elias said the park board does not know how big their bonding request would be. But he estimates a price tag in the “tens of millions.” 

“If state funds could be secured in 2020-21, then construction, renovation or reconstruction could begin as early as 2023 with an opening in 2024,” Elias said. “But, that is the best case scenario.” 

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