The V3 Center will not be built without the community’s support. Coming off the US Olympic Swim Trials, where our 50-meter pool was used in Omaha to select the Summer Games Team, support is building. It was evident as a gathering to acknowledge the arrival of the aforementioned pool grew into a celebration of more than 200 people! The V3 team led a countdown for the crowd before unveiling one of 20 starting blocks that arrived with the pool. But before the big moment, several prominent community members and supporters of the project delivered heartfelt and inspiring words, furthering the V3 team’s resolve and commitment to ending drowning disparities and health access inequities. Below is just a small sample of a few of the speeches.
State Senator Bobby Joe Champion, North Minneapolis
“When they told me about this pool and this opportunity, I was excited from the very start. So, I said to her (Erika Binger), and I mean it to this very moment as I stand here on this stage, you had me at hello. I’m going to do everything within my power to make this a reality because kids need to live out this reality and the joy with you, because kids need to live out their dreams and their possibility.”
Mayor Jacob Frey, City of Minneapolis
“Well, this is a huge day. People, North Minneapolis is getting an Olympic-style pool. Wow! This is something that we should all be celebrating in magnificent form. And I have to be honest with you, I was skeptical, not about the value of the goal, but the ability to achieve it. But through a whole lot of collaboration and partnership, by bringing community in, as opposed to keeping them out, we’re now poised to deliver an extraordinary asset for the city that is focused in North Minneapolis. And why not North Minneapolis? Because this is an excellent and extraordinary community that deserves it right here.”
The Project Design and Build Team
Calvin Littlejohn, TRI-Construction CEO
“As we started this process years ago, and as we talk about how this is important for children… I don’t know how to swim. And so, as I think about access to water and growing up a young black man who had never learned how to swim, and now that I have kids and we do water sports, I’m always on the outside and watching my kids play, but I’m not interacting. And so, as a grown up that wants to get this place done, I want to put a challenge out there to the rest of the people who are just like me, never learned to swim, but want to learn how to swim. So, Erika, I’ve made you a promise back when we started this, this is going to be where I learn how to swim.”
Ted Beckman, RJM Construction VP
“This is a community-based project. We’re going to work with our partner Tri-Construction to make it real, but it’s going to take everybody here and everybody in this community to help us lay bricks, do everything. It’s going to be that effort to make this a success and bring it to life.”
Keon Blasingame, LSE Architects
“I grew up right down the street on 14th and Irving. And I love the fact that we are able to impact our community in a very positive way through the work we do. And by implementing the vision of folks like Erika and the V3 team. So, we’re just extremely excited about the prospect of allowing us to work on a project that’ll impact kids, and the way that it will impact the community, and the way that it will allow us to bring this to fruition.”
Dr. Shaun Anderson, USA Swimming Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager
“This program, this facility, is so very, very, very important. And I was looking at it earlier today and walking through all of it. And it’s really… I can’t stress enough how big that opportunity is and how ready everything is. We’re checking all the boxes here. It has our full support and we’re excited about V3 Sports and the new facility.”
Erika Binger, V3 Executive Director and Founder
“Last summer the world watched in horror as Minneapolis displayed the worst in humanity with the callous murder of George Floyd. We saw firsthand the tangible evidence and manifestation of simmering pain, trauma, anger, frustration, sorrow, and hopelessness. We became the epicenter of all that was, and is, wrong with society. But we have the opportunity to show the world how to get it right. We can create a blueprint and pathway for others to see how communities can come together to create access, opportunities, and equity. We already own the two pools. We own the instructional pool and the Olympic Trials pool. We’re actively fundraising so that we can build and break ground on this project. We recognize the vision is bold and comprehensive. It includes partnerships with like-minded, problem solving, forward-thinking individuals, such as yourselves. We need a collaborative effort to make this happen and your support, relationships, and connections to donors, funders, colleagues, and friends. Please share with everyone!”
Here’s the link Erika is talking about. Please share the information as we continue to build momentum to breaking ground on Phase 1 of the V3 Center, which will include the much-needed 25-yard instructional pool.
A special thanks to our event sponsors RJM Construction, LSE Architects, USA Swimming, Minneapolis Foundation, and kpCompanies!