Ypsilanti's Rutherford Pool reopening could be pushed back to 2014 unless $125K is raised
Rising construction costs could set back the rebuild of Ypsilanti’s municipal Rutherford Pool unless an additional $125,000 is raised before the end of January.
Although Friends of the Rutherford Pool Board chair John Weiss said he is confident the funds can be raised, he isn’t sure if that number will be met before the end of January.
Rutherford Pool, at 975 N. Congress, is owned and was operated by the city for many years. In 2004, the Friends of the Rutherford Pool, a newly formed nonprofit group, began operating it on behalf of the city. But a lack of funds for necessary repairs forced the pool to close at the end of the 2011 season.
In a little more than 18 months, the Friends group has raised about $813,000.
Originally, the group set a goal of raising $750,000, an amount that it originally estimated as a solid goal to begin the rebuild, but a number of items have developed that required the group to raise an additional $190,000.
During the past couple of weeks the group has raised about $65,000 in additional funds, knocking the total amount needed down to $125,000.
Weiss said the Friends received a $25,000 donation from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which had already donated $45,000, a $25,000 donation from a private donor and a few others. Bank of Ann Arbor also pledged $5,000 in the past two weeks.
The additional funds were needed because the pool construction estimates received 18 months ago have gone up more than 15 percent. Weiss attributes part of the increase to an improving economy, that resulted in capital projects, like a pool, costing more than it did in 2011.
"The cost of the pool has gone up significantly," Weiss said "The previous quote was $120 per square foot and now it's $150."
In addition to that, a 300-square-foot addition to hold mechanical equipment must now be added. Weiss estimates that addition will cost nearly $45,000. Also needed is a contingency fund, which is a requirement of the city, before the rebuild can take place.
Weiss said if the funds aren't raised before the end of January, the reopening of the pool could possibly be pushed back another year into 2014. If the funds are raised, Weiss said the target is to open by Memorial Day or at the latest, by the Fourth of July.
"It’s a very important project," Weiss said. "You might think a pool is just nice to have, but it is an important part of a kid's summer. For the local children and youth and for many who don’t have a place to recreate during the summer, I've really been emphasizing the impact of the pool."
Weiss noted that youths make up about 70 percent of the pool users.
The pool renovation was originally scheduled to be completed this year. The plan had been to begin the bidding process in March and have the pool open by June 15. But the work had to be delayed when state grant money for the project became tied up in the legislative process.
In 2011, the city applied for and received a $300,000 grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to go toward the renovation project.
One of the grant's stipulations is that the pool must be completed by August 2014.
The Friends have hired Kadushin Associates, an Ann Arbor-based architecture and design firm, to do the consulting and design work for the project. Early projections show the Friends will likely pay The design and construction oversight services will cost $66,000 for the firm's consulting services.
Weiss said Kadushin is now partnering with Water Technology, Inc., an aquatic design firm based out of Milwaukee, to design the pool. WTI has designed other pools in the area.
More than 200 community leaders and members have contributed to the project and donated time and money to push the project forward, he said.
"We have a long list of people that we’re going to ask for support," Weiss said. "We're working desperately to make sure that doesn't happen. (Not having the pool) really demonstrated to the community how important of an asset it is."