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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    McDaniel, Randle & Birk to help rec center funding

    Posted on Mon, Jul. 10, 2006

    [size=18px]Search is on for rec center donors[/size]

    Supporters working to erase $2 million Jimmy Lee shortfall

    BY LAURA YUEN
    Pioneer Press


    Plans for a roomier and re-modeled Jimmy Lee Recreation Center and Oxford Pool could require some major-league fundraising efforts in St. Paul.

    A $2 million project shortfall has prompted City Council Member Debbie Montgomery and other city officials to seek cash from the charity arms of the National Football League and Major League Baseball.

    Montgomery says she also has approached two old neighborhood friends — baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and former New York Giants wide receiver Stacy Robinson — with a special plea for help. As youngsters, both of the now-retired athletes honed their skills on the Summit-University fields.

    "We're hoping to use our hometown connection," said Montgomery, who was once a girlhood slugger who played practice games against Winfield and Hall of Famer Paul Molitor when the fields were known as Oxford Playground.

    The NFL could pitch in as much as $200,000, Montgomery said. Sponsors would include former Vikings Ed McDaniel and John Randle and possibly current Viking Matt Birk.

    There is a catch, though: The football league would insist on using a more durable field turf that would cost about $700,000 — an option much pricier than what some parks and recreation officials have in mind, Montgomery said.

    Two separate endeavors by Winfield and Twins outfielder Torii Hunter to promote baseball among African-American kids also might be a possible funding source, Montgomery added. She's also seeking help from private foundations unrelated to sports.

    The Jimmy Lee project, a top city priority since 1992, now could cost nearly $12 million because of rising construction costs. An additional $5 million went into assembling the land for the expansion.

    On Friday, officials will break ground on the 11-acre site near Interstate 94 and Lexington Parkway.

    The project is now scheduled to be completed in spring of 2008, a delay of more than a year.

    Oxford Pool closed this spring because of unrelated problems with a circulator pump. The Summit University Teen Center continues to operate in the rec center, but other youth programming has been moved to nearby facilities.

    Some community members fear the closing of Jimmy Lee is causing some kids to lose out on social and recreational opportunities this summer.

    "Not only is Jimmy Lee closed, but as of last Friday, the Lexington branch library closed" to prepare for the Rondo library opening in late August, Montgomery said. "I have absolutely nothing to keep these kids engaged."

    For more than two years, community groups have guided the design of an improved Jimmy Lee recreation center, the only one in St. Paul to house an indoor aquatic center. Final plans call for four gyms (two of which would be funded by St. Paul Public Schools), a splash pool, water slides, lap pool and a dance-aerobics studio.

    When Summit-University resident Erick Goodlow heard last month that the city was proposing changes to pare what was originally a $3 million deficit, he was concerned. But the substitutions, he learned, were minimal.

    "I was expecting a lot worse, a whole lot worse," said Goodlow, chairman of the project's design advisory group. "I was pleasantly surprised."

    Parks and recreation staff trimmed $1 million from the total price tag by straightening out the curved building facade near the front entrance and trading the brick exterior for a patterned, pre-cast concrete. They also traded tile flooring for sealed concrete.

    Given its prominent location, "We still want it to be an architecturally significant building," said Ken Wehrle, a project manager in the city's parks and recreation department. The center will still include all the same amenities and programming as recommended by the citizen committee.

    Steve Boland, executive director of the Summit-University Planning Council, said he's reserving judgment until he can see samples of the materials.

    "We certainly appreciate the fact that the building will continue to function, but if it looks like an industrial zone, that makes a big difference to our neighborhood," Boland said. "I need to see it."

    Laura Yuen can be reached at [email protected] or 651-228-5498.

    Search is on for rec center donors

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    singersp's Avatar
    singersp is offline PPO Newshound
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    Re: McDaniel, Randle & Birk to help rec center funding

    Some of you might think BFD! But anytime the Vikings/Vikings players get any type of positive press from the local media in the Cities, I will post it.

    It's a rare commodity there.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  3. #3
    digital420's Avatar
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    Re: McDaniel, Randle & Birk to help rec center funding

    tis good 2 see those guys getting credit for their contributions.

    keep it up Singersp!!

    DiGiTaL

    "We tried to stick with it, but there was a point where we were beating our head against a wall," Seattle Coach Mora talking about running at the Williams Wall

  4. #4
    VikesfaninWis's Avatar
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    Re: McDaniel, Randle & Birk to help rec center funding

    I think it is good to hear about some positive press for the Vikings for once.. It will only do good if the Vikings and their players are helping out for other fundraisers.. This puts a good mark on past Viking players, as well as our current ones like Birk..

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