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Posted on Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Friends of Rutherford Pool $35K shy of fundraising goal as it aims for summer opening date

By Tom Perkins

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.


The Friends of the Rutherford Pool has raised more than $900,000 for a complete rebuild of the pool.

Tom Perkins | file photo

The additional funds were needed because the pool construction estimates received nearly two years ago have gone up more than 15 percent and a 300-square-foot addition to hold mechanical equipment is now required for the pool to meet codes.

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


Lisa D

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

The Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation also proudly contributed $ 1,000 to this wonderful and deserving community project. Lisa Dengiz

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

@Leah Gunn: Actually, if you read the Facebook page you will see that they have a link to a Buy a Brick Program through which donations can be made online with a credit card: ("Help us ensure a 2013 Rutherford Pool rebuild by purchasing a donor brick to be laid on the edge of the pool deck or in the sidewalk approaching the pool.") I'm not sure how entities were selected to be singled out for their contributions in this article. University Bank's Kids B'Cause Program also donated $5,000 to this worthy cause in response to the last appeal.

Leah Gunn

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

You left out the most important information, which is how we may donate. I googled Friends of Rutherford Pool - I clicked on the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and one can make a contribution through the Network for Good, which is a reliable conduit.. Question - is it tax deductible? If you click on the Rutherford Pool in the article, it just directs you to Facebook.