$51K needed to begin Ypsilanti's Rutherford Pool construction by May
Courtesy Friends of the Rutherford Pool
The Friends of Rutherford Pool are hopeful the rebuild of Ypsilanti's community pool can begin by May, but organizers said an additional $51,000 is needed before construction can start.
After a two-year fundraising effort that has raised nearly $1 million from more than 200 donors, the new pool at 975 N. Congress St, is finally nearing the construction phase.
Organizers have set an April 30 deadline to raise the final $51,000 to allow construction to go forward and the new pool to be available during the 2013 summer swimming season.
If the funds are raised, the pool could be open by Fourth of July weekend, weather permitting. The construction bids have been submitted and the city is going through final permit approval phases.
"We just have to keep our fingers crossed," Friends board member Lisa Wozniak said. "If we hit the fundraising goal, the city will sign on the dotted line and will be able to start construction immediately."
In February, AnnArbor.com reported that the Friends were $35,000 shy of their goal. Originally, the group's fundraising goal was $750,000 last year.
Wozniak said the projects costs have continued to increase over time because of pool construction estimates rising, the state's requirement of complying with prevailing wage laws.
Brian Tell, a Friends board member, said pool construction estimates received 18 months ago have increased by more than 15 percent.
"Part of this increase is due to a general improvement in the economy resulting in capital projects, like a pool, costing more than it did in 2011," Tell said.
Wozniak said the city has also required a contingency fund be set up before the rebuild can take place.
Although the Friends are overseeing the construction and gathering of funds, the city still owns the pool and has required the money be raised before construction begins.
Wozniak said the Friends are optimistic they will be able to raise the funds.
"We're looking at a $51,000 shortfall which could be seen as a huge cost, but frankly it's not because we’ve raised almost $1 million, Wozniak said. "...It has been a true from the ground up experience."
Several companies and businesses have donated funds to the cause including the University Bank of Ann Arbor's Kids B'Cause Program, the Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation, The Knight Foundation, the Buhr Family Foundation and countless others. The donations have ranged from $1,000 and below, all the way up to $25,000.
The city of Ypsilanti also is contributing $25,000.
Ypsilanti Township, the Community Foundation Ypsilanti Fund, Bank of Ann Arbor, Eastern Michigan University Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Gene Butman Ford all donated $5,000 each.
"People have stepped up," Wozniak said. "It's just been incredible coming together for a project."
Wozniak said the pool is the "heart and soul" of Ypsilanti's summer time recreation.
"It's a place where a lot of kids go who don't have a place to be," Wozniak said. "I got involved in this because I thought it was not just an important facet of where I live, but for the kids of eastern Washtenaw County."
Donations can be made toward the Rutherford Pool project at the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. Wozniak said donations also can still be made through the pool's Bricks R Us project.
Contributions, which are tax deductible, can be made by contacting Friends member John Weiss at email@example.com, visiting www.forpool.org or directly to the Rutherford Pool Fund at the Ypsilanti Area Community Fund, housed at the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation at 301 N. Main St., Suite 300.