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Posted on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 6:01 a.m.

Rutherford Pool construction contract approved; groundbreaking next

By Tom Perkins

Editor's note: The name of the Knight foundation making a grant to this effort has been changed in addition to the type of contribution made by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission.

The three-year effort to raise more than $1 million to rebuild Ypsilanti’s Rutherford Pool took another step forward at Tuesday night’s Ypsilanti City Council meeting.

The council unanimously approved the construction agreement between the city and a contractor for the rebuild.

With the signature of Mayor Paul Schreiber and City Clerk Frances McMullan on the contract, construction can begin immediately.

An exact date on a groundbreaking ceremony is expected to be determined Thursday during a pre-construction meeting with the contractor, city and the Friends.

The contract with Brighton-based Baruzzini Construction is for $844,000. In addition to the construction fees, other expenses include a $50,000 contingency fund, architectural services, fencing and site mapping -- all totaling $1,021,000.


A sign outside the closed Rutherford Pool promises a new pool in 2013.

Tom Perkins | For

“It’s just a terrific item,” City Manager Ralph Lange said. “It’s just a fabulous job, and a small miracle (the Friends) can raise that much money and get that much support.”

The 40-year-old community pool at 975 N. Congress St. saw around 17,000 visits annually, and 150 families held passes before it closed. Daily visits during the summer ranged between 200 and 500.

Council Member Pete Murdock noted that Baruzzini is certified union. He and several other officials commended the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission for its $150,000 contribution to the Friends.

Council Member Dan Vogt said he wanted to repeat his praise for the Friends for their “unbelievable” fundraising effort.

"I’m tickled pink that we were able to get this pool going,” he said.

Schreiber said he was skeptical at first that the effort could be completed because of the amount of work involved, but said it turned into a “great project.”

City Attorney John Barr expressed similar thoughts about the roller-coaster fundraising effort.

‘It’s kind of like a phoenix - it would appear to die, then it would be resurrected,” he said. “I had my doubts as to whether it would be fulfilled, but the project got a lot of help from a lot of different people. They’re still raising money and there are bricks still available for purchase.”

At one point the Friends group found it needed to raise more money than anticipated because construction costs had increased during the fundraising effort. At another point a $300,000 grant awarded to the city on behalf of the friends from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund was delayed.

The list of donors who have helped make the project possible is extensive. It includes $75,000 from individual donors who wish to remain anonymous. The James A. & Faith Knight Foundation donated an additional $25,000 after previously donating $45,000, and the Buhr Family Foundation contributed another $15,000.

Ypsilanti Township, the Ypsilanti Area Community 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.

The Friends group also has been selling engraved bricks displaying the names of those who donate either $125 or $250 to the cause, and so far raised more than $13,000.

Anyone else who wants to contribute can do so through the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, or by contacting John Weiss at

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Contact the news desk at


Thinking over here

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

Is there any "projected" opening date?


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 6:45 p.m.

Ok a while ago. There was a chance that they "might" be done beginning of August. Now if that is true and everything is completed and passes all the following inspections. As hard as it might be (getting staff, filling , heating it,) when most pools are winding down. We will try and open it for the end of summer swims to Thank everyone that help make this happen. Thanks for the support - Pool Manager

Denise Anderson

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 1:58 a.m.

Last I heard [quite awhile ago], it will be closed all of this summer but open next summer.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

Schreiber said he was skeptical at first that the effort could be completed because of the amount of work involved, but said it turned into a "great project." Schreiber is always skeptical about EVERYTHING. Useless to try and gain approval on the outset for anything through his office (or the Council for that matter). Very happy the Friends could raise the funding. I know we all look forward to using the new facilities once they open again! Great job!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

I remember going to that pool when they had a high dive ( thanks a lot trial lawyers )


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

Good job everybody. This is a project we should all be proud of.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

Wow - what a great effort and strong result. The friends are to be commended (along with all of the donors and granters)for their efforts. This is a GREAT mixing of communities and it is a wonderful thing for the whole area. This effort was long and fraught with inconsistent demands and conflicting information and delays in funding that caused painful price increases. And you still pulled it off!! Whoo hooo - let the construction begin!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 10:47 a.m.

The Friends are to be commended for their efforts. This is a great service to the children of Ypsilanti.