Report: Moores Park Pool requires at least $4.8 million in repairs

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An assessment report released last week shows that the Moores Park Pool will require at least $4.8 million in renovations before it can be safely reopened to the public after it closed indefinitely in 2019. A more expensive option could bring those repairs up to about $6.3 million.

And now city officials and local fundraising groups are headed to the drawing board to figure out whether those bills can be paid or whether the shuttered public pool will be left to deteriorate.

“To protect the oldest surviving Bintz pool in America, our group is focused on restoring and maintaining this historic gem as an invaluable asset and community space for generations to come,” explained Veronica Gracia-Wing, chairwoman of the Friends of the Moores Park Pool.

Over the last several months, contractors were hired by the city to provide “much needed data and information as we look at what it would cost to rehabilitate the Moores Park Pool,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor. A report on their findings was released Friday. The Friends of Moores Park Pool, a local fundraising group, paid for half of the $60,000 assessment.

In addition to specifically outlining a list of myriad repairs required to bring the pool up to snuff, the report outlined two options on how to get them done — along with two distinct price tags.

• Option 1 focuses on maintaining the historic architecture of the pool and costs about $4.8 million. It includes a pool wall design that is expected to last 20 years and, because it’s sympathetic to the historic nature of the existing building, it is also the option preferred by the State Historic Preservation Office and the U.S. National Park Service.

• Option 2 includes additional code deficiencies found by state health officials and would up the anticipated life expectancy to 50 years at an increased cost of about $6.3 million.
Schor said the bill for those repairs will compete alongside “many financial demands for necessary services across the city” — including road and sidewalk repairs and other expenses.

“I look forward to working with the Friends of the Moores Park Pool on a community fundraising plan, potential grant opportunities and collaborating with them as we move forward,” Schor said.

Gracia-Wing told City Pulse the recent assessment report will be used as a guide to flesh out an “actionable strategy with tactics, roles, responsibilities and concrete goals.” Over the next several weeks, city officials and fundraising groups will work together to hash out a plan.

Within Option 1, the report lists about $2.7 million in repairs as “immediate priority” and about $1.8 million as “necessary priority.” Option 2 would increase those costs by about $1.5 million.

Contractors also suggested that repairs will require “additional funds” beyond a public fundraising campaign. As a historic structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. National Park Service, the city could also qualify for grants and low-interest loans.

City officials closed the facility in fall 2019 and announced that it would need at least $1.2 million in repairs before it could be safely reopened to the public.

Leaks were costing about $1,400 per week to keep it filled while chlorinated water spilled into the soil below. The pandemic — and budget shortfalls — only knocked the pool lower on the city’s budgetary priority list. It stayed closed last summer and certainly won’t be refilled again in time for this summer, officials said.

Previously, the southwest Lansing pool was open seven days a week, 10 weeks out of the year.

Tucked into a hillside overlooking the Eckert Power Station, the pool was designed by former Lansing City Engineer Wesley Bintz and also carries historical value beyond a simple neighborhood oasis. The 1922 ellipsoidal fieldstone rock-ring structure is the oldest surviving Bintz Pool in the nation, and as such it carries a bit of a cult following among history buffs.

Schor submitted his annual budget proposal to the City Council last week without including specific funding for repairs. It will be reviewed and could be amended before its finalized in May. Visit mhpn.org/mpp to learn more about the Moores Park Pool or to make a donation to the Friends of Moores Park Pool. A copy of the 73-page assessment can be found at lansingmi.gov.

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