Friends of Rutherford Pool $35K shy of fundraising goal as it aims for summer opening date
With spring on the horizon, the Friends of the Rutherford Pool is inching closer to raising enough funds to complete the rebuild of Ypsilanti’s community pool.
The Friends group thought it reached its original fundraising goal of $750,000 last year, but found it would need to raise at least an additional $200,000 for the pool to be built. The group needs another $35,000 to $40,000 to make the project happen.
Tom Perkins | AnnArbor.com file photo
That bumped the cost of the pool up from $120 per square foot to $150 per square foot.
To date, the group has raised just more $900,000, said its chairman John Weiss. But plans are being reviewed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which is awarding a $300,000 grant toward the project upon approval. The city of Ypsilanti will be the recipient of the grant money. Once the plans are approved the project will go out for bids.
Weiss said he is hopeful the Friends will have a contract with a builder by early March and construction can begin by late March. That means the pool wouldn’t be open by Memorial Day, but likely by the Fourth of July, Weiss said.
“I think we’re in a good shape but I think we have to have a big final push,” he said.
“I’m a little bit nervous. I don’t know where the bids are going to come in at,” he added, and explained that the estimates are based on architects’ estimates, so the exact cost isn’t known.
If the Friends group doesn't have enough money to cover the costs in March, Weiss said it may consider a loan or see if anyone else in the community can help.
Since learning of the new target, the Friends has received $75,000 from individual donors who wish to remain anonymous. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation donated an additional $25,000 after previously donating $45,000, and the Buhr Family Foundation contributed another $15,000.
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. The Rocket donated $1,000, and University Bank and Awesome Foundation each contribute. The Minister’s Alliance of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor raised more than $2,000 through collections from their congregations.
The city of Ypsilanti also is contributing $25,000. Weiss said City Manager Ralph Lange insisted on helping the project with financial support instead of only in-kind support as was previously planned.
The Friends have also been selling engraved bricks displaying the names of those who donate either $125 or $250 to the cause, and so far raised over $13,000.
Weiss said the group is grateful for all the financial support and anyone else who wants to contribute can do so through the Ann Arbor Community Foundation.
“Everyone is stepping up and it's heartening to see that they care about this project,” he said.
Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com.