“Thank you for creating the type of community we want to see,” Governor Tim Walz remarked immediately after touring the V3 Center on January 10. He was joined by Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan along with State Senator Bobby Joe Champion and State Representative Esther Agbaje, who represent North Minneapolis.
“A lot of people think, once you cross into North Minneapolis, you’re in a whole different world. But right outside this door, you see downtown Minneapolis, not just a neighbor but a partner for North Minneapolis. And it makes sense that as neighbors and as partners, we are working together to make sure all of our kids, all of our families, have the investments they need to make sure they can lead thriving lives,” Representative Agbaje told the media who covered the Governor’s tour of V3.
“I couldn’t imagine a regional asset right in my own community that I could catch the bus to, or that I could walk to. And the V3 Center is an opportunity for all of that, as well as developing the overall person in a lot of different ways,” Malik Rucker explained.
Rucker and V3 Founder and Executive Director Erika L. Binger walked the lawmakers through the current building on the corner of Plymouth and Lyndale Avenues North, which will soon be torn down to make room for construction of the future V3 Center. They laid out the vision for the future; a Community Center where families can learn and grow together. Whether it’s breaking down a historical fear of water in our black and brown communities through swim lessons or having access to fitness equipment and nutritional education, the V3 Center promises to uplift an already vibrant and thriving community.
“Every Sunday, I drive past V3 on our way to church at Ascension, and my husband and I were like ‘what’s going to be in there? What’s this all about?’ And now I can say ‘it’s going to be amazing.’ Your vision is so incredibly exciting and we want to lift it up, and it’s why we’re here,” Lieutenant Governor Flanagan said.
“This type of project is exactly the ones we’re looking for. We’ve been out there looking at different roads and bridge projects. They can be water treatment plants and things, basic infrastructure. This is basic infrastructure for our children. They need to have these opportunities, and they need to be told ‘you can be the best in the world.’ When you look at what’s behind us, they deserve to have these opportunities, and the State of Minnesota is in a position to be able to deliver them,” the Governor added.
Governor Walz has promised to include the V3 center in discussions taking place in the coming weeks as elected officials discuss bonding bill projects and how they’ll distribute the state’s surplus, or supplemental budget.
“North Minneapolis is not a deficit. We have assets as well, and we want to elevate those assets, so other people can see and come to this great space and have a renewed sense of who we are in North Minneapolis, and what we stand for. Our kids deserve the best, like every other kid deserves the best,” Senator Champion told reporters.
While it was an honor to host the Governor, Lt. Governor, and the state’s top lawmakers and share the mission and vision of V3 and the Community Center, it was uplifting to hear such enthusiastic support from the state’s top office. The drive to address health and wellness accessibility and disparities really resonated following an afternoon tour where V3 showed off its 50-meter Olympic trials pool and renderings of the V3 Center, created by North Minneapolis’ own Keon Blasingame of LSE Architects.
“We are so excited for the possibility and vision of what this space can be for our community and for the region. And we’re just so thrilled that you took the time to learn about it. Let’s do it!” Erika Binger exclaimed.
“Having this facility here in North Minneapolis and doing it as quick as we can get it done to give these kids an opportunity just makes sense, so I’m just proud to be a part of this,” Governor Walz concluded.