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Posted on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 9:33 a.m.

Ypsilanti's Rutherford Pool: $1M raised, mid-June construction date set

By Katrease Stafford

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The Friends of the Rutherford Pool have raised $1 million to go toward the construction of the pool.

The $1 million fundraising goal for the construction of Ypsilanti's Rutherford Pool has been met and organizers are hoping construction can begin shortly after June 17.

"From a fundraising standpoint, as of this week we have raised $1 million total, which will get us into the ground," said Friends member Brian Tell. "I can't say enough, it's been a really quite amazing experience."

The Ypsilanti CIty Council approved a memorandum of understanding with Baruzzini General Contractors for the construction of the pool Friday morning at a special council meeting.

The council voted unanimously, with council members Brian Robb, Susan Moeller and Daniel Vogt absent, to approve the contract for the reconstruction of the pool at 975 N. Congress Street.

Friends Chair John Weiss said part of the funds raised include a loan from Washtenaw County and Weiss said his organization will continue to raise funds in an effort to borrow a lower loan amount. There are additional expenses coming later in the summer, including the fencing, which will require additional fundraising.

Council Member Ricky Jefferson said it's unbelievable the Friends were able to raise that amount of capital for the project. Jefferson was recently asked to sit on the board.

"To see that they raised that amount of money for that project, that’s just totally amazing," Jefferson said. "I'm glad theres a lot of interest to keep the pool open and I believe this group,Friends of the Rutherford Pool, they need to be commended for their efforts."

Jefferson said the pool is an asset for the children in the local community, who see it as a public amenity. Jefferson said it keeps the youth active during the summer and the time the pool closure was a loss for the community.

"The reward is for the children and community to have that resource as a public amenity that would draw families and keep our children active during the summer," Jefferson said. "I'm glad the contractors are willing to find a way to get id one in the most reasonable manner and also make sure it's safe and sustainable before a long period of time."

In 2011, Ypsilanti received a Natural Resources Trust Fund grant for the reconstruction of the Rutherford Pool, in collaboration with the Friends of the Rutherford Pool.

In 2012, the city and the Friends entered into an operating agreement and lease, where the the organization would work with the city on the reconstruction of the pool, but maintain responsibility for fundraising and operation of the pool.

The Friends have changed who will be doing the construction of the pool.

Originally, the Friends went out to bid for design services and selected Kadushin Architects and WTI Engineering to construct the pool and prepare all required site and building plans as well as bid documents.

The city received four bids in total from different companies, including one from the Brighton-based Baruzzinni Construction.

The Friends and the city were interested in finding out more about Baruzzinni's bid, so on March 28, the bid was reviewed by a team consisting of City Manager Ralph Lange, Public Services Director Stan Kirton, City Planner Teresa Gillotti, Kadushian Associates representative Chris Allen and Friends member Brian Tell.

The team decided to go with Baruzzinni, who would include use of a vacuum sand filtration technology that would be installed in the ground, with a cedar fence for separation rather than inside the building, unlike the original bid and building plan.

The Baruzzinni bid would also provide a savings of about $100,000. The total cost to construct the pool is $844,955. 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.

The city council approval is subject to the following conditions:

Since the alternate plan would require changes to site and building plans, Baruzzini Construction Co. will be responsible for redrafting and resubmitting the plans for approval to the city, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Barruzzini Construction Co. has 50 calendar days from the signing of the agreement to receive approvals from relevant agencies.

Baruzzini must complete construction within 12-14 weeks from the date of the notice to proceed.

Lange said he "gigantically supports" the project and looks forward to its completion. The project has faced several setbacks, but Friend members and the city are confident construction will finally move forward.

"The grass roots FORP group has been working very hard over the past 18 to 24 months and we look forward to a new pool," said Friends member Eric Maes.

The funds came from several private donors as well as local companies in the area.

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.

Lisa Wozniak, a Friends member, said the organization is "absolutely thrilled" and grateful to the entire community.

"This has been a very long and hard campaign to rebuild one of the only recreation opportunities for Ypsilanti's children," Wozniak said. "It's been a huge undertaking and a lot of people have stepped up in amazing ways. It's a real indication on how valuable this is."

Wozniak said the organization is still accepting donations to go toward the rebuild of the fence and other features, which she said must be put in place before the pool reopens. Wozniak said the total cost for that is about $25,000.

"When you put it in context, with what we've already raised, it seems to me we can make that $25,000 happen," Wozniak said.

Contributions, which are tax deductible, can be made by contacting Friends member John Weiss at, visiting 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.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

Kudos to all the people that worked on this project. Special thanks to all the help from the foundations that donated funds. A special thank you to University Bank, The Knight Foundation, Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation and the Buhr Family Foundation. This pool is and location is really a jewel for the area.


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.



Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

Great News! Congrads all around!

1982 Brew Crew

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

Very impressive fundraising. Congratulations!


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

Great job FORP for getting this done and also showing the rest of us the power that citizens have when we get together.


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

I'd like to give a shout-out to Cathy Thorburn, who spearheaded this effort from the very beginning. Without her determined and unwavering efforts this would not have been brought to fruition. There are many others who worked long and hard on this, too, and they all deserve a pat on the back.


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

clapclapclap Congratulations Friends of Rutherford Pool! And thank you for all that hard work! Can I come over on PRIDE day and put some rustoleum on the roof ductwork? :^)


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

Yes we will be planning something for Pride day. Check out our website or Facebook page for up coming info.

Thinking over here

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Congrats all around!!!

Katrease Stafford

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

I've added additional comments from a Friends of the Rutherford Pool board member and Council Member Ricky Jefferson, who was just recently asked to sit on the board.