Plans to renovate the historic Moores Park Pool in Lansing Move Forward

The Moores Park Pool has been an integral part of the summer in Lansing for almost 100 years.

It has fallen into disrepair in recent years, but work is now underway to create a plan to preserve and revitalize it.

WKAR’s Sophia Saliby speaks to Dale Schrader about conservation efforts for Lansings Moores Park Pool.

The pool is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by Lansing City Engineer Wesley Bintz.

Dale Schrader is a member of the Executive Committee of Friends of Moores Park Pool group and President of Preservation Lansing. Sophia Saliby from WKAR spoke to him about what’s next for the pool.

Highlights of the interview

Why the pool should be preserved

It will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year and Wesley Bintz was based in Lansing [and] City engineer. He started his own company and built over 130 of these pools, these above-ground pools, across the country. And there are only a handful left, and Moore’s Park Pool is the oldest surviving Wesley Bintz swimming pool in the United States.

On the two options for renovations from a recent assessment

The first was SHPO approved by the State Historic Preservation Office, the more historic. And they had a range of costs between $ 2.7 million and $ 4.8 million for it. The other was a health department [one] and is $ 6.3 million. The evaluation doesn’t go into it in great detail, but basically it builds up another pool within that pool. It kind of changes the look. It takes a few feet from the entire diameter of the pool. And that actually costs more, so we definitely prefer the first one.

What memories he has of the pool

The pool is actually wonderful. It is oval shaped. It’s tucked away in a hill and there are some grandstands that go up the slope. You can imagine parents sitting there and watching their children. You look over the pool and in the background of the pool on the Grand River and the three legendary chimneys of the Eckert power plant with trees that surround the pool. It’s just an amazing sight. I’ve never swam in it before, but if we can do it [you] I better think I’ll swim in it.

Interview transcript

Sophia Saliby: This is all that is taken into account at WKAR. I am Sophia Saliby.

The Moores Park Pool has been an integral part of the summer in Lansing for almost 100 years. The pool is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by Lansing City Engineer Wesley Bintz.

It has fallen into disrepair in recent years, but work is now underway to create a plan to preserve and revitalize it.

Dale Schrader is a member of the Executive Committee of the Friends of Moores Park Pool group. He’s joining me now. Thank you for being here.

Dale Schrader: Thank you, Sophia.

Saliby: Can you explain in a little more detail why this pool matters and why it needs to be preserved?

Schrader: Well, like you said, 100 years have passed. It will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year and Wesley Bintz was based in Lansing [and] City engineer.

He started his own company and built over 130 of these pools, these above-ground pools, across the country. And there are only a handful left, and Moore’s Park Pool is the oldest surviving Wesley Bintz swimming pool in the United States.

Saliby: There was a recent review of the best options for renovating the pool and pool structure, everything around it. And in the end there were basically two options.

One that is preserving more of these historic elements of this pool and doing some work to bring things up to date and another that is more focused on completely renovating the pool. Does your group have a preference?

Schrader: The two ratings came in the first, SHPO, which was approved by the State Historic Preservation Office, the more historic. And they had a range of costs between $ 2.7 million and $ 4.8 million for it.

The other was a health department [one] and is $ 6.3 million. The evaluation doesn’t go into it in great detail, but basically it builds up another pool within that pool. It kind of changes the look. It takes a few feet from the entire diameter of the pool. And that actually costs more, so we definitely prefer the first one.

Saliby: This first option also has a shorter length of time for the duration of the pool before further renovation work is done [or] Repairs required. I think it’s about 20 years from the time these go into effect. Is there a concern that it will be difficult to keep this thing alive and keep it going for the people of Lansing?

Schrader: Well, if you can hold out for another 20 years, someone else will have to come up with a different fundraiser, and maybe a different one [way to] Collect money to keep it going. But it is one of the most historic buildings in the city of Lansing and has great significance for the city.

Saliby: As you mentioned earlier, the cost of any of these plans is pretty high, with at least a few million dollars. Is there a plan to pay for these repairs?

Schrader: We have actually increased half of the assessment amount. We’ve pledged to pay $ 30,000, which is half the estimate, and we’ve raised well over $ 30,000 in that time. We had 200-300 donors.

Mark Rodman of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network was helpful. You helped us obtain a $ 5,000 National Trust Historic Scholarship from Washington DC that helped us. And so we exceeded our goal. And we will be able to have money for the next stage, where we really need some money.

Saliby: And I should say your group is working with Lansing City to do this renovation [and] Fundraise for this money [and] Grants. Is that correct?

Schrader: Certainly. We work together with the city of Lansing. It is a town owned by Lansing. Times are tough, you know, and it’s tough with COVID too. Since we cannot organize into large groups and typical fundraising drives, you can form a group and hold events and the like. And we didn’t make it. But we still managed to raise more than $ 40,000 in a couple of months. I think the interest is there. We haven’t even started tapping into corporate donors and things like that.

Saliby: So what are the next steps and is there a target date to make these repairs?

Schrader: That is the question. What do we do now? We found that it will likely take the architect four to six months to post bids, plans, specs, and everything. So it looks like it could slide into next year because we would have to have a window from 2021 to March to try to fix this pool and that’s a pretty quick turnaround for us to try to increase the kind of money we’re going to need. So it can slip a year. I understand there’s no problem with the pool, structural, or plumbing or anything like that sitting for another year. Everything is being discussed right now.

Saliby: I have never been to the Moores Park Pool before. Have great memories of the summers there with the family [or] with friends?

Schrader: You know, I’ve only lived in Lansing for about 20 years myself and I’m a big fan of historic buildings. There are the stands. The pool is actually wonderful. It is oval shaped. It’s tucked away in a hill and there are some grandstands that go up the slope.

You can imagine parents sitting there and watching their children. You look over the pool and in the background of the pool on the Grand River and the three legendary chimneys of the Eckert power plant with trees that surround the pool. It’s just an amazing sight. I’ve never swam in it before, but if we can do it [you] I better think I’ll swim in it.

Saliby: Dale Schrader is a member of the Executive Committee of the Friends of Moores Park Pool group. Thank you for coming to see me.

Schrader: Many Thanks.

This conversation has been edited for the sake of clarity and clarity.

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