When I lived in Milwaukee in the 80’s, they had a restaurant called the Public Natatorium. It was a huge building with a giant pool where people used to bathe before we had indoor plumbing. I had never heard of a facility like that, it was way before my time. Now I’m reading about the Moores Park pool here in Lansing, and learning about it’s history. This one is an outdoor facility, and was built in 1922 by former city engineer Wesley Bintz, and carries a lot of historical value. It’s an ellipsoidal fieldstone rock-ring structure, and it’s also the oldest surviving Bintz pool in the nation, actually listed on the National Register of Historic places.

This facility was closed by the city in fall of 2019, as it requires about 1.2 million in repairs before it would be safe to reopen. Because of the pandemic and budgets, it got bumped down on the budget list. Lansing officials have paid about $60,000 to a firm to estimate the cost of repairs.

The Friends of Moores Park are rallying the preservation groups, and they have seen donations from all over the world. Next week's assessment report will get the ball rolling on cost estimates to figure out whether repairs are feasible, and where they will get the cash, said Parks Director Brett Kaschinske.

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Lansing Mayor Andy Schor is set to submit his annual budget proposal to the City Council on March 22. It will be reviewed in April and finalized in May. Advocates like Gracia-Wing are keeping their fingers crossed that it could include financial support for the Moores Park Pool. Kashinske said it’s too early to talk specifics, but noted the city hasn’t set a hard cap on its share of any eventual repairs. Meetings between his staff and the Friends of Moores Park Pool will help chart out the next steps.

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The Friends of Moores Park Pool want to do more than just donate money, they want to develop a feasible, sustainable model that will carry on for a long time. Of course those who donated to help save this historical landmark are at “risk” of not getting anything for their investment. They could decide against making the repairs, even though many residents did let their donations show what their priorities are. Time will tell if history prevails.

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